Gov't takes measures to guarantee safety at UNM rally

Patrol Police said traffic movement would be restricted on Rustaveli Avenue and Freedom Square in Tbilisi today., 15 Nov 2014 - 11:51, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Interior Ministry of Georgia says it will take "all necessary measures” to ensure the safety of those who attend today's protest rally in central Tbilisi.

The ex-ruling United National Movement party-organised rally starts at 4pm on Rustaveli Ave. The event is in protest of Russia’s "attempt to annex” Georgia’s breakaway regions and against the Government’s "inaction to counter” this problem.

A counter-rally was also announced to take place in Tbilisi today. The Patriarchate was believed to be an organiser of it. However, the Patriarch's Office issued a statement saying the Church had not organised any manifestation for today and it called on all members of both rallies to stay calm and not provoke each other.

The Interior Ministry also called upon the organisers and participants of the UNM rally to follow the law and ensure their protest is peaceful and calm.

Meanwhile, the Ministry’s Patrol Police Department said "with the view of ensuring unhindered and safe traffic movement during the protest rally”, traffic will be completely restricted between Rustaveli Ave and Rose Square and in all nearby streets. Traffic will also be partially restricted at Freedom Square.

Earlier, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili called on law enforcement bodies to do their best to ensure security in Tbilisi today. In his lengthy address to the population, the PM also spoke about the country’s pro-Western orientation.

"The Government steadfastly pursues its path to European and Euro-Atlantic integration; this process is irreversible,” Garibashvili said. "Obviously, we may encounter numerous obstacles on this path, and we must overcome them with dignity.”

The PM stressed his Government clearly saw the threat of annexation of Georgia's occupied territories, which undermined Georgia's statehood and unity.

"We do not turn a blind eye as Russia continues to blatantly violate core principles of international law and offers the Abkhazians a form of relations that will not only be assessed as a step toward annexation, but will also threaten the Abkhazian nation with extinction,” Garibashvili said.

He claimed the Government had employed every international mechanism and addressed international organisations and the international community as a whole, appealing to them to treat this issue with special consideration.

"We are convinced that our Western friends and partners will spare no effort to stave off every attempt at the blatant violation of our country's sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the PM said.

He added radicalism was absolutely unacceptable and inadmissible in Georgia today.

"Any step other than a peaceful, prudent and pragmatic policy may lead us to grave consequences,” the PM said.

"Imprudent actions and radicalism led Georgia to the 2008 war. This must serve as an example to everyone; we cannot build our decision making upon emotions.”

Read the PM’s full address here.