Transparency International (TI) Georgia and International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) say violent posters in the streets of Tbilisi pose a threat to the health and life of the opposition and media representatives.
Executive Director of TI Georgia has tweeted:
By spreading posters pointing at media & civic activists, @GeorgianDream41 messaged that they're going to run #Gvote21 campaign that has no ???? lines. I would like to stress, If the lives of the people on these posters are endangered, Georgian Dream is directly responsible for it. pic.twitter.com/K15Fx2xwsd— Eka Gigauri (@katgigauri) July 24, 2021
Posters with the photos of ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili, heads of TV Pirveli, Mtavari Arkhi TV and Formula TV, as well as civil activists from Tbilisi Pride and the Shame Movement read: ‘say no to Natsis!’* and ‘say no to evil!
The content of the poster, which was widely distributed in the light of the events of July 5-6, is perceived as a call for violence, and the homophobic context of the posters is also obvious”, the NGOs say.
They further note that considering the recent attacks on ‘critical media representatives’ from the ruling Georgian Dream party, the appeals on the posters ‘might again put the journalists and civil activists in front of the risk’.
Director of Tbilisi Pride has also tweeted:
???? Such a disgraceful campaign launched by ruling @GeorgianDream41 party!— Giorgi Tabagari (@Tabagari) July 24, 2021
❗️Streets of #Georgia are filled with hateful posters, targeting media, politicians and civic activists, including myself..
???????? It seems that upcoming election campaign will be dirty and polarizing. pic.twitter.com/HkvDBjfxE3
While the civil society and opposition claims that the ruling party stood behind the posters, Giorgi Iakobashvili, editor-in-chief of For.ge website said it was the idea of his organisation ‘Davasrulot’ (Eng: Let's put an end).
Meanwhile, stating that the posters ‘damage the facade of the city and therefore they are illegal’, Tbilisi City Hall says the posters will be removed, while the individuals who have hung the posters at different locations in Tbilisi will be fined.
The Shame Movement also tweeted as well:
.@TbilisiCity plays a solo show: "It is reported that citizens arbitrarily put up posters & distorted the appearance of Tbilisi, which is an illegal act. Tbilservice Group will remove the posters. The Municipal Inspection of Tbilisi City Hall will act within the law,"- #Shame https://t.co/luq0nGgnKM— Shame Movement (@Shamemovement) July 24, 2021
* ‘Natsis’ is a short, in a way derogatory form of the opposition United National Movement.