EU ambassador reacts to rallies in Tbilisi, praises ruling party offer, urges investigation

EU Ambassador to Georgia Carl Hartzell urged for timely investigation of June 20 rally dispersal in Tbilisi. Photo: EU in Georgia press office., 25 Jun 2019 - 19:06, Tbilisi,Georgia

 EU Ambassador to Georgia Carl Hartzell has made his first comments regarding June 20 events and following rallies in Tbilisi, praising the offer of the Georgian Dream ruling party on elections and urged the investigation into rally dispersal in central Tbilisi last week.

 We welcome the statement by the Georgian Dream leadership on initiating constitutional changes for holding fully proportional elections in 2020. This presents an opportunity for all stakeholders to come together to agree a way forward that strengthens parliamentary democracy and pluralism in Georgia. We expect a broad and consultative process and call on all sides to engage in good faith,” Harzell wrote.

He said that it is important for Georgia to address OSCE/ODIHR recommendations made during the previous elections “in a timely and inclusive manner”, in view of the upcoming parliamentary elections.

We welcome the commitment to investigate the events that unfolded during the night of 20 June, in line with calls made by the Council of Europe's Human Rights Commissioner and others, and look forward to a transparent and swift process with the involvement of the public defender,” Harzell said.

Rallies are continue in Tbilisi. Photo: Nino Alavidze/

He stated that demonstrations “must remain peaceful” and urged everyone to act lawfully.

As committed friends and partners of Georgia, we call on all sides to act in the country's best interest,” he said.

  •  Rallies in central Tbilisi were sparked by an address of a Russian MP from the seat of the Georgian parliamentary speaker on June 20, during the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy.
  • Police dispersed demonstrators later that day “as they disobeyed law enforcers and tried to rush in the parliament building.”
  • 305 individuals were detained and 240 injured during the dispersal, with more than 100 still remain in custody.
  • Protesters have been demanding the dismissal of Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze, Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia, snap parliamentary elections with proportional electoral system and the release of detainees.
  • The government has met the demands regarding Kobakhidze and holding the elections with the proportional system.
  • Rallies are scheduled to continue until “all the demands are met,” the opposition say.