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Violent banners in Tbilisi against opposition, media & activists

By Nika Gamtsemlidze
Monday, July 26
On Saturday, July 24, several people put out banners in Tbilisi streets reading “No to UNM, no to the evil”. In addition, the banners displayed a homophobic narrative. In addition to politicians of the UNM, the banners also feature representatives of critical media in Georgia, as well as the founders of the Tbilisi Pride and activists of the Shame movement. The banners also featured a rainbow. Banners with the same writing first appeared in Tbilisi back in 2018, prior to the Presidential Elections.

The Tbilisi City Hall responded to the fact, calling it illegal. As the statement of the City Hall reads, the Tbilservice Group was tasked to remove the illegal banners in the city.

According to the Tbilisi City Hall, the municipal inspection revealed persons who arbitrarily pasted posters on different streets of the capital and distorted the appearance of the city. The agency says offenders will be fined in accordance with the law.

Nika Melia, the Tbilisi mayoral candidate nominated by part of the opposition, and Elene Khoshtaria, the Sakrebulo mayoral candidate, responded to hate posters in the streets of Tbilisi, saying it is an insult to the public.

Khoshtaria said that the hate campaign, that already caused the death of one cameraman, continues attacking journalists and activists. “Instead of punishing all the organizers of the violence that will take place on July 5, the authorities have disgusted journalists and members of the media who were attacked,” said Khostaria.

Nika Melia says high-ranking officials, Prime Minister, Minister of Culture, and Georgian Dream MPs are at the forefront of the Hate Campaign.

Georgian NGOs have responded to the banners that appeared in Tbilisi on July 24, saying that it poses a threat to the health and life of the opposition and media representatives.

The executive director of Transparency International took to Twitter to respond to the events taking place, saying that “if the lives of the people on these posters are endangered, Georgian Dream is directly responsible for it”.

According to Manana Tokmajishvili, the head of the public relations department of the City Hall, the Tbilservice Group has started the process of removing the posters, but “it is difficult to walk around all the streets and corners of the city quickly”.

The City Hall also said that they found two people who were participants in posting the posters in the city and that they were fined.