Police use water cannons to disperse rally at parliament

Special unit forces are trying to force demonstrators leave parliament territory. Photo: Reuters

Agenda.ge, 18 Nov 2019 - 17:27, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Georgian Interior Ministry has used water cannon to disperse the rally in front of parliament in Tbilisi after demonstrators refused to leave the territory and allow MPs in the legislative body.

The demonstrators, who are protesting the rejection of an election bill, refused to leave the area within 30 minutes, in the time given to them by the Interior Ministry.

Water cannons were used after several-time warnings to demonstrators to leave the territory, as according to the Interior Ministry protesters violated the law on assembly and manifestation through blocking the entrances of parliament starting yesterday.

Before the usage of the water cannons officials of Tbilisi City Hall also urged demonstrators to leave the territory and stop hampering the parliament’s work. 

Demonstrators with their hands up when special unit forces started to take the territory. Photo: IPN. 

The ruling party has refused to discuss any new initiatives regarding the electoral system, responding to the ongoing protests in Tbilisi demanding a fully proportional electoral system from 2020.

Secretary General of the ruling party, Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze has stated after a party meeting earlier today that the 2020 parliamentary elections will be held with a mixed-electoral system, as parliament rejected the ruling party proposed bill on the move to the fully proportional elections last Thursday.

He stated that the “United National Movement opposition and its branches” stand behind current protests in Tbilisi as “the parties have no public support and wish unrest to somehow return to power.”

The ruling party accepted the conduct of 2020 parliamentary elections on a fully proportional system amid the June public protests in Tbilisi, as it was one of the three demands of demonstrators to stop rallies.

The ruling party proposed bill on holding 2020 parliamentary elections per a fully proportional voting system and a zero per cent entry threshold was scrapped last week as only 101 MPs voted for it instead of mandatory 113 in the 150-member parliament [40 ruling party MPs did not vote for the bill].