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2019 Georgian protests

The 2019 Georgian protests (also known as Gavrilov's Night or Protests in Georgia) (Georgian: გავრილოვის ღამე), refers to a series of anti-government protests in the country of Georgia.

Gavrilov's Night & Georgian protests
Gavrilov's Night Day 2 - Central protest.jpg
Protesters on the second day of protests.
DateFirst round of major protests: 20 June–July
Minor protests: July-13 November
Second round of major protests: 13 November-December
Location
Caused byRussian MP Sergey Gavrilov visited Georgia within the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy and occupied the chair of the speaker of parliament
GoalsDay 1 requests:
Day 2 requests:
  • Resignation of the Minister of Internal Affairs Giorgi Gakharia and proper punishment to the police officials, whose actions caused injuries and used inappropriate force;
  • Immediate release of all prisoners detained during the protest;
  • Introduction of fully proportional election system instead of the existing semi-proportional
November requests:
  • Resignation of Government;
  • Introduction of «German model» electoral system;
  • Early parliamentary elections.
MethodsDemonstrations, civil disobedience, picketing of parliament
StatusOngoing
Parties to the civil conflict
Lead figures
Elene Khoshtaria
Grigol Vashadze
Gigi Ugulava
Giorgi Vashadze
Giorgi Gakharia
Bidzina Ivanishvili

HistoryEdit

The protests began on June 20, 2019, in front of the Parliament of Georgia. The protests launched after Sergei Gavrilov (Russian: Сергей Анатольевич Гаврилов), a Communist Party member of the Russian Duma who was visiting through the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy, sat in a chair reserved by protocol for the Head of Parliament.[1] He delivered a speech in Russian extolling the Orthodox brotherhood of Georgia and Russia. Earlier that week, Gavrilov had voted in favor of the independence of Abkhazia.[2]

Following Gavrilov's actions, the Georgian opposition, mainly members of the European Georgia and United National Movement, blocked the speaker and called for protests that demanded the government's resignation.[3][4][5] As night fell, Georgian law enforcement used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters. Approximately 240 demonstrators were injured during the clashes with police and 305 protesters were arrested. At least two people experienced eye injuries and loss of vision due to rubber bullets, according to Giorgi Kordzakhiya, director of Tbilisi's New Hospital.[6] The government accused protesters of attempting to storm the parliament building.

Protests continued on next days demanding the resignation of government officials responsible for police actions, including the MIA of Georgia Giorgi Gakharia, and introduction of fully proportional election system instead of the existing semi-proportional. Protests calmed down after on June 24 the head of the ruling Georgian Dream Party, Bidzina Ivanishvili, partly satisfied demands of protesters by announcing a change to the electoral system [1][7][8]. However, minor protests continued demanding the resignation of Giorgi Gakharia.

Major protests renewed on November 13 after the Georgian Dream failed the promised electoral reform. [9] On November 18, 20,000[10] people gathered in the center of Tbilisi demanding the resignation of government. Protesters blocked entrance to parliament and prevented legislative session from taking place. Riot police dispersed protests using water cannon, resulting in injury of 4 protesters and 2 policemen. [11] On November 25 police had to use water cannon again in order to clear the parliament entrance, leaving 3 protesters heavily injured.

ResultsEdit

Following the protests of June 20–21, 2019, Irakli Kobakhidze, Georgia's Chairman of Parliament, announced his resignation. After mass demonstrations on June 24 in Tbilisi, the head of the ruling Georgian Dream Party, Bidzina Ivanishvili, announced a change to the electoral system from a mixed to proportional representation for the 2020 elections and lowering the vote barrier for parties.[1][12][13]

United National Movement MP Nika Melia was released on bail he was charged with organizing, managing or participating in group violence, during the protests.[14][15]

ReactionsEdit

Russian president Vladimir Putin signed a decree to suspend passenger flights carrying Russian citizens from Russia to Georgia, effective July 8.[16][17] Russia's Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Well-being increased quality controls on Georgian wine and mineral water, seen as linked to the escalation in tensions.[1][18][19]

President Salome Zourabichvili shortened her visit to Belarus to attend the opening ceremony of the 2019 European Games and to meet with President Alexander Lukashenko following the beginning of the protests. In an interview with Euronews, Zourabichvili called for a "de-escalation" in the situation while also blaming Russia for stirring up a "fifth column" in the country that is loyal to Moscow.[citation needed] Russian Prime Minister Dimitry Medvedev denied these claims by saying it is a "distortion of reality".[20] Zourabichvili also called on Russian tourists affected by the travel ban to keep coming to Georgia because "They love Georgia" and that "politicians must solve the problems".[21] Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov criticized her remarks as "ultra-extremist" in a statement on June 25.[22]

On June 26, Nika Melia an opposition leader was charged with organizing and inciting group violence.[1][23]

In July 2019, Russia denounced an expletive-laden attack on Vladimir Putin by Georgian TV host Giorgi Gabunia during a broadcast on Rustavi 2.[24]

On 8 September, Giorgi Gakharia became Prime Minister of Georgia. On 14 and 15 November several Georgian dream MP's left the party, including 3 Conservative Party members consisting of: Zviad Dzidziguri, Gia Bukia and Nino Goguadze, Paata Kvijinadze remained in Georgian Dream however didn't leave the Conservatives, while Ruslan Gajiev defected to the Green Party and Mukhran Vakhtangadze to Georgian Dream proper. other MPs who left the party were: 1 member of the Green Party - Giorgi Begadze, along with 9 others, including – Tamar Chugoshvili, Tamar Khulordava, Mariam Jashi, Sofio Katsarava, Irina Pruidze, Dimitri Tskitishvili, Zaza Khutsishvili, Giorgi Mosidze, and Sofio Katsarava.

On 10 December MP Aleksandre Erkvania left Georgian Dream.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e Genin, Aaron (2019-07-25). "Georgian Protests: Tbilis's Two-Sided Conflict". The California Review. Retrieved 2019-07-26.
  2. ^ nikoladze, Tatia. "Who is the Russian Orthodox communist who provoked protests in Tbilisi?".
  3. ^ CNN, Nathan Hodge, Milena Veselinovic, Bianca Britton and Luka Gviniashvili. "Georgia's president blames Russia over violent protests". CNN.
  4. ^ Reuters (June 21, 2019). "Anti-Russia protesters met with tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon in Georgia – video" – via www.theguardian.com.
  5. ^ "Riots as Russian MP addresses Georgian parliament". June 21, 2019 – via www.bbc.com.
  6. ^ "Georgians keep protesting despite speaker's resignation". Associated Press. Retrieved 30 June 2019.
  7. ^ "Georgia 2020 Parliament Vote to Use Proportional System: Ruling Party Head". June 24, 2019 – via NYTimes.com.
  8. ^ "Russia threatens more economic pain in standoff with Georgia". Reuters. 2019-06-24. Retrieved 2019-07-26.
  9. ^ "Protests revived in Georgia following election reform failure". Eurasianet. Retrieved 19 November 2019.
  10. ^ "Tens of thousands gather in Tbilisi to demand snap elections in Georgia". Reuters. Retrieved 17 November 2019.
  11. ^ "Georgian police move to disperse large protest in Tbilisi". Associated Press. Retrieved 19 November 2019.
  12. ^ "Georgia 2020 Parliament Vote to Use Proportional System: Ruling Party Head". June 24, 2019 – via NYTimes.com.
  13. ^ "Russia threatens more economic pain in standoff with Georgia". Reuters. 2019-06-24. Retrieved 2019-07-26.
  14. ^ "Opposition party MP Nika Melia charged with violence at Tbilisi rally". Agenda.ge. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  15. ^ "Opposition MP, charged with incitement to violence at Tbilisi rallies, released on bail". Agenda.ge. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  16. ^ Times, The Moscow (June 21, 2019). "Putin Suspends Passenger Flights From Russia to Georgia". The Moscow Times.
  17. ^ "Georgians Have Now Been Protesting Russian Interference for a Week. Here is Why". Time. Retrieved 30 June 2019.
  18. ^ "Russia Tightens Quality Control on Georgian Wine". Georgia Today. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
  19. ^ "War on the grapevine? Russia ups control on Georgian wine imports". The Independent. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
  20. ^ https://www.euronews.com/2019/06/22/georgia-s-president-calls-for-de-escalation-after-unrest
  21. ^ "Russian tourists should continue to come to Georgia – President of Georgia". tass.com.
  22. ^ "Russian FM slams Georgian president's "ultra-extremist" remarks – Xinhua | English.news.cn". www.xinhuanet.com.
  23. ^ "Georgian Parliament Strips Opposition Lawmaker Of Immunity Over Violent Protests". www.rferl.org. Retrieved 2019-07-26.
  24. ^ "Russia condemns Georgian TV host's attack on 'filthy invader' Putin". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 July 2019.