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MIA Confirms Rally Arrests; Public Defender Urges Ministry to Protect Georgians' Right to Assembly

By Liza Mchedlidze
Wednesday, April 17, 2024
The Ministry of Internal Affairs has confirmed the use of pepper spray as a means to 'prevent physical confrontation', with 11 individuals administratively detained according to their information.

According to the ministry's statement, Despite numerous calls, participants of the rally engaged in physical confrontation with the police, throwing various blunt objects, resulting in injuries to an internal affairs officer and damage to a ministry vehicle. The Ministry reiterated its call for organizers and participants to express their protest within the framework provided by law.

"Once again, we call on the organizers and members of the action to express their protest within the framework provided by law. Each illegal action will be met with an appropriate legal response," reads the Ministry's statement.

Special forces used a special tool against rally participants at one building entrance, as shown in circulating footage of injured individuals rinsing their eyes with saline solution and special forces equipment sprayed with colored liquid.

Later, Public Defender of Georgia Levan Ioseliani responded to the ongoing demonstration against the 'Law of Agents'. The statement of the ombudsman notes that by 22:00 on April 16, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia began using force against rally participants.

The Public Defender urged the Ministry of Internal Affairs to ensure the protection of freedom of expression and assembly in a safe environment and, in case of force, to adhere to relevant international standards.