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Shalva Papuashvili: Ministry of Internal Affairs Took Action to Safeguard Human Health during Disruption of Pride Festival

By Liza Mchedlidze
Tuesday, July 11, 2023
Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia, Shalva Papuashvili, while speaking about the Pride Festival which was disrupted by violent groups, stated that the Ministry of Internal Affairs has made a decision to protect human health and has acted accordingly.

"I have a feeling that there are certain groups or actors whose statements leave the impression that this event should be held at any cost, including putting people's health at risk. I don't know what the priorities of these groups and actors are, whose statements we were listening to, but the Constitution and legislation of Georgia demonstrate the priorities of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and these priorities revolve around the first value of human health.

Of course, when people's health is at stake, along with the freedom of assembly, both the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the police could not make any other decision than to prioritize and protect people's health.

...we saw that, on the one hand, no one was injured, and on the other hand, the police did not escalate the situation and were able to ensure this. Thus, the police were able to protect this main priority," he said.

Regarding the question of why the police did not use proportional force against the violent groups that announced the violence in advance, the Chairman of the Parliament stated that the Ministry of Internal Affairs will address this matter.

"As for the policing measures, I cannot answer that. The Ministry of Internal Affairs will provide an answer on how this or that measure is planned, including the tactics and strategy involved."

As for the announcements, we sometimes hear different kinds, including various actions announced against the parliament, which eventually turned into violent actions. Let us remind you that on March 7-8, there was an attack on the Parliament of Georgia. We remember the broken windows and the burning Parliament, and at that time, the police had to evacuate both employees and journalists from the Parliament. No one here said that keeping Parliament functioning was more important than your health or the health of Parliament staff.

Regarding crowd management, this is a separate field in which the police and relevant units possess strategies and tactics of the highest standard, according to the decision of the European Court of Human Rights. Therefore, they can manage crowds of different types and sizes," he said.

When asked about the actions the police would take if it was an anti-government demonstration, Chairman Papuashvili stated that the Ministry of Internal Affairs would have ensured the evacuation of the event.

"I am sure that if there was an event of the ruling or non-ruling party and their health was in danger, the police would also have ensured that they were evacuated," Papuashvili said.