Human Rights Watch: Georgian gov’t should investigate the use of force during June 20 rally

The Georgian Interior Ministry warned demonstrators before the dispersal. Photo: Nino Alavidze/, 21 Jun 2019 - 14:11, Tbilisi,Georgia

Human Rights Watch has reacted to the June 20 demonstration in Tbilisi, triggered by the presence of Russian MPs in Georgia, and urged the Georgian government to investigate the use of force during the rally which left 240 injured.

Riot police in Tbilisi fired rubber bullets and used tear gas without warning against thousands of nonviolent protesters outside the Georgian Parliament on June 20, 2019,” the statement reads.

Human Rights Watch says that “it is urgent for the authorities” to instruct the police to adhere to the rules on the use of force under international law.

Those rules require the police to use only strictly proportionate force in response to any threat posed by protesters, and to resort to measures such as rubber bullets only as a last resort,” the statement reads.

The rally was dispersed by police after demonstrators ignored the appeal of the Interior Ministry to obey law enforcers and decided to break into the parliament building.

Before the dispersal the Interior Ministry released a statement urging the people to obey police and act peacefully.

The same was repeated by Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia at the scene, who told the demonstrators that their protest “was fair” but they should have acted peacefully as otherwise law enforcers would have to hold them accountable.