EU condemns ‘intimidation, threats and physical assaults’ by authorities in Georgia – Europe live


EU condemns ‘intimidation, threats and physical assaults’ in Georgia

Speaking at a press briefing, a spokesperson for the EU’s chief diplomat Josep Borrell reiterated concern about the situation in Georgia, where pro-western protesters have continued to face a violent crackdown.

“We strongly condemn acts of intimidation, threats and physical assaults against the protesters, against civil society activists, against politicians and against journalists and media workers,” the spokesperson said, pointing to “brutal actions” overnight.

“We call on the authorities to ensure the right to protest,” he said. “We call on the authorities to investigate properly… and we expect that those responsible for it will be brought to justice.”

The European Union and the member states are watching the situation “closely,” he said.

But he also said that “we are not there yet” on sanctions.

“Georgia, after all, is a candidate country – and we again, we hope, we expect and we call on authorities to go back to the European path.”

A demonstrator wears a national flag as she argues with the police that blocked the road towards the Parliament building during an opposition protest against "the Russian law" in the center of Tbilisi, Georgia, on Monday, May 13.
A demonstrator wears a national flag as she argues with the police that blocked the road towards the Parliament building during an opposition protest against “the Russian law” in the center of Tbilisi, Georgia, on Monday, May 13. Photograph: Shakh Aivazov/AP

Key events

Thijs Reuten, a member of the European parliament from the Netherlands, said today that “we have to show that we learn our lessons and support the Georgian people now.”

We have to show that we learn our lessons and support the Georgian people now. Not next month, not next year.

The brave people in the streets of 🇬🇪 will continue to resist Russian style sabotage of their democracy, constitution and EU integration. #NoToRussianLaw pic.twitter.com/WtQ7hEpLew

— Thijs Reuten 🇪🇺🌹 (@thijsreuten) May 13, 2024

Here are more images from Georgia today.

Police disperse demonstrators in Tbilisi, Georgia. Photograph: Nicolo Vincenzo Malvestuto/Getty Images
Police intervene protesters as demonstrators protest the bill on ‘transparency of foreign influence’ in front of the parliament in Tbilisi. Photograph: Anadolu/Getty Images

US and Russian citizens detained in Georgia

Two American citizens and one Russian were among 20 people detained at protests in Tbilisi, the interior ministry said today, Reuters reported.

Georgia police accused of beating protesters against ‘foreign influence’ bill

Daniel Boffey

Daniel Boffey

Riot police armed with water cannon and teargas have been accused of beating protesters who picketed outside Georgia’s parliament to try to stop a final vote on a controversial “foreign influence” law.

The fresh scenes of violence on Monday morning came as hundreds of masked officers charged down demonstrators who had been attempting to block off access to the parliament in the capital, Tbilisi.

Dimitri Chikovani, who was severely beaten by five men near his apartment building entrance in Tbilisi’s Sololaki district last Wednesday evening, said he had also received threatening phone calls.

Speaking to the Guardian after his release from hospital, Chikovani, who suffered fractured cheek bones and a broken nose, said he believed the government was behind the attacks.

He said: “The point is to make people fear them. But if I may add, it’s pointless and useless. Because people of Georgia, they have spoken, they have decided that the European way, the western civilisation, is the way of Georgia. Georgian Dream won’t stop it. We will protest until Georgian Dream stands back and stops the law.”

Read the full story here.

Protesters react to pepper spray used by police in front of the Georgian parliament building. Photograph: Nicolo Vincenzo Malvestuto/Getty Images

EU condemns ‘intimidation, threats and physical assaults’ in Georgia

Speaking at a press briefing, a spokesperson for the EU’s chief diplomat Josep Borrell reiterated concern about the situation in Georgia, where pro-western protesters have continued to face a violent crackdown.

“We strongly condemn acts of intimidation, threats and physical assaults against the protesters, against civil society activists, against politicians and against journalists and media workers,” the spokesperson said, pointing to “brutal actions” overnight.

“We call on the authorities to ensure the right to protest,” he said. “We call on the authorities to investigate properly… and we expect that those responsible for it will be brought to justice.”

The European Union and the member states are watching the situation “closely,” he said.

But he also said that “we are not there yet” on sanctions.

“Georgia, after all, is a candidate country – and we again, we hope, we expect and we call on authorities to go back to the European path.”

A demonstrator wears a national flag as she argues with the police that blocked the road towards the Parliament building during an opposition protest against “the Russian law” in the center of Tbilisi, Georgia, on Monday, May 13. Photograph: Shakh Aivazov/AP

Puigdemont’s press conference has ended.

Sam Jones

Here’s a bit more detail here on why Puigdemont says a repeat election wouldn’t be in the region’s interest and why he’s keen to try to form a government.

It is worth bearing in mind that by the time a repeat election is held, he may be back in Spain and free to campaign thanks to the amnesty.

But a repeat election is not guarantee of shoring up support for the independence movement, which had a very bad night last night.

“The main thing is to ensure Catalonia has a government that can work and that can stand up to Madrid,” Puigdemont said.

He added:

The second thing it to avoid a repeat election. A repeat elections would help us overcome many of the difficulties we’ve had to deal with; we’ve been the only ones who haven’t been able to take part in the debates or head out to the streets. But despite all that, [a repeat election] would be very bad news for Catalonia, for stability and for the people of Catalonia.

“We are not going to let you down,” the far-right Vox leader, Santiago Abascal, told the party’s supporters.

Vox won 11 seats in Catalonia.

Meanwhile, the Socialists are celebrating.

Sam Jones

Puigdemont, speaking at a press conference just now, has said he’s not engaging in theatrics and is serious about returning to the presidency.

Sam Jones

Puigdemont has said the time has come to “rebuild bridges” within the independence movement, an apparent nod to the bad blood between Junts and the ERC.

He’s also said that a repeat election – which remains a distinct possibility if no one can put together a new regional government – “wouldn’t be best for the Catalan people”.

🎥 President @KRLS Puigdemont: “Hem de dotar Catalunya d’un govern que faci funcionar el país i que tingui condicions de continuar plantant cara a Madrid. I també hem d’aconseguir estalviar la repetició electoral. A nosaltres ens ajudaria a superar moltes dificultats, però seria… pic.twitter.com/NbElS1qP1b

— Junts per Catalunya🎗 (@JuntsXCat) May 13, 2024

Share

Updated at 

Earlier today, Junts’ David Torrents acknowledged that the pro-independence camp has lost some ground and “we need to reflect a lot” about the election’s outcome.

Primer de tot vull agrair als 10.490 Badalonins i als 674.896 Catalans que ens heu fet confiança!! Gràcies!!
Malgrat que @JuntsXCat hem millorat, l’independentisme ha perdut representació, i cal reflexionar molt, molt!! Seguiré lluitant i hem de seguir lluitant!! Visca Catalunya…

— David Torrents (@torrents_d) May 13, 2024

Puigdemont pushes for government of pro-independence parties

Sam Jones

Carles Puigdemont said he intends to try to form a government composed of pro-independence parties.

“We can put together a coherent majority – not an absolute one – but it would be bigger than Illa’s. The socialist candidate’s options must necessarily involve the PP.”

Share

Updated at 

Carles Puigdemont is speaking now.

Sam Jones

Spanish government sources said this morning that “Salvador Illa’s triumph means the end of the independence process – thanks to the policy of harmony, dialogue and coexistence undertaken by the prime minister, Pedro Sánchez.”

“Catalans have backed that with their votes. In this election, Catalonia has decided to open a new stage,” they added.





Source link