The statement of the Public Defender of Georgia about the events of May 17, 201218 05 2012
The Public Defender of Georgia has started studying the fact of obstruction of the exercise of the right to hold manifestations that took place on May 17, 2012, in Tbilisi, on Rustaveli Avenue.
According to the information disseminated by the media, NGO Identity was holding a peaceful march in connection with the International Day against Homophobia. The organizers of the march had notified the Tbilisi City Hall of its date and place, as established by the legislation.
During the march, the participants were followed by a group of citizens (including representatives of the clergy) whose members assaulted the participants of the march verbally. Later, they blocked the pedestrian part of Rustaveli Avenue and did not allow the participants to continue the march. They even assaulted some of the participants physically.
According to the information at our disposal, the law enforcement bodies detained several persons, including the participants of the march, whom they later released.
Representatives of the Public Defender of Georgia were personally present at the site of the incident. Now they are in the process of obtaining explanatory notes and analyzing the video materials. At the same time, with the aim of assessing the adequacy and lawfulness of the behavior of representatives of the law enforcement bodies, the Public Defender’s Office of Georgia has requested detailed information about the number of persons detained by the police, the grounds for their detention, and the measures taken on the ground. After this information has been analyzed in detail, the Public Defender of Georgia will respond in a relevant manner, which will become known for the public with a separate news release.
The Public Defender of Georgia considers any violent action that is carried out on the grounds of intolerance inadmissible. It is a positive obligation of the law enforcement bodies to create appropriate conditions for the exercise of the right to hold a peaceful assembly. Violations of law committed against such a march require swift and adequate response.
In consider that, in similar cases, the state must take timely and effective measures with the aim of stopping and preventing actions carried out on the grounds of intolerance.