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Opposition Announces Plans for “Non-Stop” Rallies

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, December 18
The presidential election runner-up Grigol Vashadze stated on Monday that from today on the opposition is launching non-stop rallies for snap parliamentary elections.

“The United Opposition categorically demands early parliamentary elections in the shortest possible time, to change the election administration and the elections to be held under a proportional system,” Vashadze said.

He stated that the opposition is demanding that those, who falsified the presidential elections are punished.

The statement came after the clash between the opposition activists and police on the inauguration day on Sunday.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs claims that they had warned the opposition to use the Kvareli road to come to Telavi to hold a protest rally there in parallel of the inauguration ceremony.

However, the opposition says that they did not know that and that is why they used the Telavi-Gurjaani highway to arrive in Kvareli, where the police stopped them.

A clash took place between the police and the protesters, leaving 10 policemen with injuries, the Interior Ministry says.

The opposition has accused the police of attack and said that their four members were beaten.

Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia thanked police as they have shown “more than obliged patience” and asked pardon as several policemen received injuries.

He vowed that everyone, who violated the policemen’s rights, would be held accountable.

The Georgian Dream ruling party members claimed that the opposition deliberately chose the route where they were not allowed to stage provocations.

Georgian Public Defender Nino Lomjaria says that the government could have avoided the clash through timely informing the opposition about the allowed route.

Acting US Ambassador to Georgia Ross Wilson stated that the US supports the rights of freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.

“We support those rights to be carried out in a calm and peaceful manner,” he said.

The United National Movement and nine other opposition parties claim that the Georgian Dream ruling party had influenced voters to vote for their endorsed presidential candidate Salome Zurabishvili in the November 28 election runoff.

The US Department of State and international observers spoke about tension and polarization in the elections period. However, they stated that Zurabishvili won the race.