Human Rights House Foundation

Georgia

Image: Demonstrations in Tbilisi: "Georgian March" and counter protests of civil society activists

Demonstrations in Tbilisi: "Georgian March" and counter protests of civil society activists

Group of ultranationalists marched along the Aghmashenebeli avenue in the center of Tbilisi on July 14. The protest was called “Georgian march”. The organizers of the Georgian March voiced their “official claim” to make immigration law stricter and to deport “illegal and criminal” migrants from Georgia. However, the statement disseminated by the organizers contained clearly xenophobic demands, like: “For the Georgian Georgia”. Representatives of the civil society, civil activists, human rights organizations actively protested the so-called March of the Georgians, the July 14 rally of the ultranationalists’ group in Tbilisi.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Group of ultranationalists marched along the Aghmashenebeli avenue in the center of Tbilisi on July 14. The protest was called “Georgian march”. The organizers of the Georgian March voiced their “official claim” to make immigration law stricter and to deport “illegal and criminal” migrants from Georgia. However, the statement disseminated by the organizers contained clearly xenophobic demands, like: “For the Georgian Georgia”.

Image: "Georgian March", Tbiliisi
Copyright: Photo: radiotavisupleba.ge

Representatives of the civil society, civil activists, human rights organizations actively protested the so-called March of the Georgians, the July 14 rally of the ultranationalists’ group in Tbilisi.

The Human Rights House Tbilisi member organization Article 42 of the Constitution, together with other member organizations of the civil platform “No to Phobia” immediately echoed the statement of the March organizers with joint statement. They called on the government to take measures to ensure legal frames and public order during the manifestation.

“We call on the Government to take adequate measures to ensure legal frames of the manifestation and to avoid all attempts of violence on racist and xenophobic grounds,” the Statement reads.

In parallel to the Georgians’ March, the civil activists organized a protest rally in the Bershueti village, adjacent to the occupation line, where the participants declared they were far from the homophobic and xenophobic statements and disseminate a special statement too. “We wish to show clearly to our co-patriots and friends abroad that our major problem is occupation.”

Image: Women's Solidarity March 
Copyright: Photo: Sapari

Besides that, the representatives of the civil society believe the March of the Georgians exceeded the boundaries of the freedom of expression as during and after the rally multiple xenophobic and sexist statements were made.

On July 17, the organizers of the March of the Georgians made sexist and threatening comments in the social network, with which they reacted to the critical post of a young diplomat Tatia Dolidze in the social media.

Image: Women's Solidarity March 
Copyright: Photo: Sapari

Head of the HRHT member organization Safari Baia Pataraia responded to the sexist statements of the March organizers. “We call on the state, media and society to react! We request investigation.”

Besides the statement, on July 19, in response to the March of the Georgians, the Women’s Solidary March was organized in Tbilisi and the HRHT member organization Safari was one of the organizers.

“We protest the violence and disgrace of the women, which they have to endure in their everyday life. Permanently we hear about the physical assault, murder and rape of a woman. In addition to that we witnessed a smear campaign against Tatia Dolidze and threats of group rape against her from the side of the organizers of the March of the Georgians. It is not Georgian way of life, it is not the value which our nation respected for centuries. It is very important to express solidarity towards those people, who are victims of violence, sexual violence and rape. Violence against any person must finish,” Baia Pataraia stated.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs commenced investigation into the intimidation fact towards Tatia Dolidze under the Article 151 of the Criminal Code of Georgia on July 17.

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