Human rights defender on June 20 protest: some politicians were ‘destructive, irresponsible, shameful’

A little girl wearing an eyeband which illustrates the treatment of protesters from the police during the jUne 20 dispersal. Photo: Nino Alavidze/, 14 Jul 2019 - 14:47, Tbilisi,Georgia

The human rights defender Sopho Verdzeuli said the Tbilisi protest of June 20 in front of the parliament of Georgia “became violent” after around 10 p.m.

Quite a lot of demonstrators were physically attacking police officers from 10 p.m. to 12 a.m., grabbing their equipment, pulling police officers out of the cordon”, Verdzeuli wrote on her Facebook page.

Verdzeuli, who represents the Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center (EMC) said “the role of some politicians was rather destructive, irresponsible and shameful”.

Verdzeuli says that “the irresponsible politicians did nothing to de-escalate the situation” and on the contrary “dangerously used the emotions” of demonstrators.

 The Interior Minister [Giorgi Gakharia] will have to take responsibility over the severe results of the rally dispersal today or tomorrow”, Verdzeuli wrote.

She also said that June 20 “was the hardest day for the country” which has not only “revived old traumas and memories” but also “created new victims and the difficult stories." 

The photo showing one of the bullets that was used to disperse demonstrators on June 20 reads: "Gakgaria, are you happy?" Photo: Nino Alavidze/

Protests in Tbilisi were sparked after Russian MP Sergey Gavrilov addressed the audience from the seat of the Georgian parliamentary speaker on June 20, during the 26th Interparliamentary Assembly of Orthodoxy, an international forum chaired by Gavrilov.

The rally following the developments in parliament on June 20 was dispersed by police after some demonstrators decided to storm the parliament building, leaving 305 detained and 240 injured.

Since then peaceful demonstrators have been gathering in front of the parliament building on Rustaveli Avenue in central Tbilisi demanding Interior Minister Gakharia's resignation.

Demonstrators will gather on Rustaveli Avenue for the 25th consecutive day today. Photo: Nino Alavidze/

In his recent televised explanation Minister Gakharia said the rally of June 20 became “violent” after 10 p.m. following “a systemic and organised” attack of [opposition] politicians on the parliament building.

Gakharia explained that it was only two and a half hours later when he gave the order for police to use their “legitimate power” to protect the state “from institutional breakdown” and public confrontation.