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At the plenary session of 10 July 2013, Giorgi Vashadze, representative of the Parliamentary Minority, declared regarding the young people arrested on 7 July 2013:  “A demonstration requires no preliminary permit if it does not interfere with traffic. The young people had their standpoint and sought to assert it to the public while the police attacked and used physical force against them and there is visual documentation depicting the aforementioned as well.”

On 7 July 2013 during the demonstration of the non-governmental organisation, Free Zone,

in the surroundings of Dinamo Arena, three members of the organisation were arrested. The demonstrators protested against the visit of the Deputy of the Russian Duma, Sergey Gavrilov, for the purpose of attending the friendly match between Dinamo Tbilisi and Dinamo Moscow. Demonstrators were arrested after they refused to obey the police’s demand to clear the road for traffic.

Irakli Garibashvili, Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia, made a statement regarding the abovementioned incident:  “These young people were using extremely insulting and humiliating words towards the police. This was a plain provocation and they were cursing at the police. This is an insult against our pride, our police and we will not tolerate and forgive an unjust insult against our police.”

Three members of Free Zone

were charged with petty hooliganism and disobedience to the police which is punishable under Articles 166 and 173 of the Code of Administrative Offences of Georgia

FactCheck

set out to check whether or not a demonstration requires a preliminary permit if it does not disrupt traffic.

Paragraph 1 of Article 25 of the Constitution of Georgia asserts that everyone, except the members of military forces and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, has a right to hold an unarmed public meeting in- or outdoors. Paragraph 2 of the same Article reserves the right for the government to demand a preliminary notification, provided the place of manifestation is designated for traffic or pedestrians.

The Georgian Law on Assemblies and Manifestations regulates the implementation of the right guaranteed by the Constitution to hold a public, unarmed meeting in or outdoors without a preliminary permit. The same Law stresses the obligation to notify the government in case the demonstration is held at a place designated for traffic or pedestrians. Article 5 of the Law states that a preliminary notification of the executive body of the local self-government is mandatory in the case when the demonstration is held at a place designated for traffic or will presumably disrupt traffic in any way. As stated in the Law, a permit is not required if traffic is blocked from the demonstration for the reasons unrelated to the manifestation.

This Law does not authorise local self-governments to issue a permit after its notification about the planned demonstration. Therefore, the Law obliges notifying about the planned demonstration occupying the area designed for traffic or disrupting traffic but it mentions no necessity of issuing a permit for a demonstration.

Conclusion

Examining the Constitution we clearly see that demonstrators are not required to notify the government about the manifestation if it does not occupy an area designated for traffic and/or does not disrupt traffic. Deputy Vashadze speaks of “preliminary permits for the demonstrations” which is not issued by the Executive Body of the Local Government or any other authorised body in accordance with the Law on Assemblies and Manifestations of 14 December 2012.

Following from all the aforementioned circumstances, we rate Giorgi Vashadze’s statement: “A demonstration requires no preliminary permit if it does not interfere with traffic” as TRUE.