The Democracy Research Institute (DRI) condemns the illegal detentions of protesters outside the buildings of the Ministry of Health and the State Security Service of Georgia and calls on the law enforcement agencies to act within the framework of the Constitution and legislation of Georgia.
At the November 9th rally, the opposition coalition announced they would hold protests in four different locations in Tbilisi. One of the rallies was held in front of the State Security Service, which was followed by a mass arrest of protesters by the police. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia, a total of 46 people have been arrested for administrative offences.
The footage released by various media outlets show that law enforcement officers were detaining citizens without explanations. In addition, law enforcement officers detained people who did not create any threat of blocking the traffic or the entrances to administrative buildings.
For the purposes of Article 21 of the Constitution of Georgia and Article 2 of the Law of Georgia on Assemblies and Demonstrations, when exercising the right to assembly enshrined in the Constitution of Georgia, it is allowed to assemble both indoors and outdoors without prior permission. According to Article 245 of the Administrative Offences Code, during arrest, the law enforcerment officer is obliged to inform the detainee, in an understandable manner, of the following: the administrative offence committed by him/her and the grounds for his/her arrest, access to a lawyer, and the right to inform the person named by the detainee about his/her whereabouts.
The non-compliance of law enforcement officials with their statutory obligations during the arrest of peaceful demonstrators, as well as the use of unjustified, illegal and disproportionate violence by them, is alarming. The DRI believes that politicized and repressive illegal detentions undermine the constitutional order of the State.
The DRI calls on the Government, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the State Security Service to act within the framework of the Constitution, to stop using the police as an instrument of political repression, and to respect freedom of expression and assembly.