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July 11 rally was another unsuccessful conspiracy against the state, says PM Garibashvili

By Khatia Bzhalava
Tuesday, July 13
Yesterday, Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili made a statement at a Government session, referring to the events of the past few days in Georgia. Garibashvili called the recent days’ developments “another failed conspiracy against the state” and evaluated the remarks voiced at the July 11 rally as “anti-state, anti-church, and anti-national.” Garibashvili also stated that the demonstrators demanded the arrest of the Patriarch of Georgia.

Garibashvili offered condolences to the family of TV Pirveli cameraman Lekso Lashkarava, who died few days after being severely beaten by far-right violent groups on June 5, and stressed that “anti-state and anti-church forces” have used his death to achieve their political goals. As he noted, no matter what the reason for his death is, “all offenders will be punished severely”.

According to the PM, the ruling party welcomes the existence of independent, impartial media in the country, however, he stressed that opposition-minded TV stations, namely Mtavari Arkhi, TV Pirveli and Formula, are run by Mikheil Saakashvili.

Garibashvili also referred to Tbilisi Pride events that occurred on July 5 and stated that a very wide-scale provocation was co-organized by ‘Saakashvili and his radical groups’.

"Perpetrators were aiming at making the State use its power against our own people and citizens. Of course, we prevented it. We had all the risks assessed well in advance and we did not make it happen,” the PM stated.

According to Garibashvili, prior to the counter-protests, the LGBT community had been gathering for 3 days without any restrictions or expression of aggression. However, as he noted, when 95% of the population is against the ‘demonstratively promotional march or parade’, the government shall obey the will of the majority.

“It is the viewpoint of an absolute majority of our population. Being an elected choice of our people, our authorities need to be considerate of it. It will no longer happen that minorities decide the fate of the majority in this country,” said Garibashvili.

The PM also announced at the government session that Minister of Culture, Sport and Youth Affairs, Tea Tsulukiani and Minister of Environment Protection and Agriculture, Levan Davitashvili have been appointed as Deputy Prime Ministers. On July 11 journalists, civil activists and politicians gathered in front of the parliament building demanding the resignation and the prosecution of the Prime Minister, following the death of TV Pirveli cameraman Lekso Lashkarava. Journalists believe that the violent acts that took place against the media representatives on July 5 were pre-planned and orchestrated by the government of Georgia. Over seventy Georgian media organizations have appealed to the international community claiming that “cases of violations of the rights of media representatives in Georgia have reached a critical level.”