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Hearing of Interior Minister Gomelauri canceled in Parliament

By Nika Gamtsemlidze
Monday, July 19
Yesterday, the Chairman of the Georgian Parliament announced that the planned hearing of the Ministry of Internal Affairs was canceled. He stated that the reason was the ongoing protest of media and opposition representatives.

Due to the recent events in the country, including the steps taken by the Ministry of Internal Affairs during Pride Week, the deputies were to hear the extraordinary sitting of the Minister of Internal Affairs Vakhtang Gomelauri on July 18.

Vakhtang Gomelauri, upon arriving in Parliament, was stopped from speaking at the first minute by the opposition parties. Opposition MPs went to the rostrum and did not allow the minister to continue his speech.

At the same time, journalists continued to protest, coming to the legislature with photos of the deceased cameraman, Lekso Lashkarava, and displaying banners that read 'Punish the Criminals' in the courtroom.

Before the cancelation of the hearing, UNM's Tina Bokuchava said that the only thing "Georgians want to hear right now is that Gomelauri and Garibashvili resign." One of the leaders of the Georgian Dream, Mamuka Mdinaradze, called on the journalists to stop their protest, saying they were involved in an “immoral political activity.”

The opposition representatives say that canceling the hearing means that the government is afraid of the protest.

The opposition demanded Vakhtang Gomelauri to Parliament before July 5 events, urging him to announce that he was going to protect the security of the Tbilisi Pride members and other activists.

A 'March of Honor' was planned in Tbilisi on July 5 as part of the Tbilisi Pride Week, which was canceled after violent groups in different parts of the city attacked the media representatives, and raided offices.

Fifty-five people were injured in violence by pro-Russian, homophobic, ultra-conservative, and nationalist groups. Pout of the 55 injured, 53 were journalists. One of the victims, Lekso Lashkarava, who was severely beaten, died on July 11.

The opposition and activists in the country are strictly demanding for the Prime Minister and the Internal Affairs Minister to resign. The feedback from the international partners of the country was also critical, with the US State Department talking about potential sanctions. The events were also very negatively assessed by European partners of Georgia.