Ruling party MP slams “authoritarian rule” of previous Gov’t on rally dispersal anniversary

Sarjveladze said “everyone should remember November 7 so that something like this never happens again”. Photo: Parliament press office, 07 Nov 2023 - 15:31, Tbilisi,Georgia

Mikheil Sarjveladze, the Chair of the Human Rights Committee of the Georgian Parliament, on Tuesday condemned the “authoritarian rule” of the previous United National Movement Government on the anniversary of the violent dispersal of a peaceful anti-Government rally in Tbilisi in 2007. 

The lawmaker said on this day 16 years ago the UNM authorities had “trampled the freedom of speech, expression, media freedom and practically everything that modern democracy and its values are based on”. 

Everyone should remember November 7 so that something like this never happens again”, he said, and added the UNM Government under Mikheil Saakashvili, the imprisoned former President of Georgia, had practically “put an end to every perspective and possibility of democratic rule in Georgia [while in office]”. 

The anti-Government demonstrations demanding the resignation of the then-President Saakashvili erupted in Tbilisi in late September 2007 and peaked on November 2 when up to 100,000 people gathered in front of the Parliament building in the centre of the country’s capital. 

A series of anti-Government protests took place across Georgia on November 7 and ended with protesters being dispersed by police using tear gas and water cannons later the same day, with a total of 508 demonstrators taken to hospitals following the crackdown. 

Earlier the same day riot police stormed Tbilisi-based Imedi TV channel - labelled “pro-opposition” by the UNM authorities - while a news programme was being broadcast live on air, and subsequently closed the outlet.