Demonstrators say the fight is just beginning" />

Tbilisi parliament protest dispersal in photos

Demonstrators say the fight is just beginning

Tear gas, water cannon used to disperse peaceful rally in Georgia

On November 18, special forces dispersed a protest of many thousands of people in front of the Georgian parliament in Tbilisi.

The protest began on November 14, and was sparked by the failure of the parliament to pass a bill that would move the country to a proportional (party) electoral system.

The large-scale protests of June 2019 stopped precisely because the head of the ruling Georgian Dream party, Bidzina Ivanishvili, personally promised the opposition that constitutional reform would be carried out in Georgia and the now mixed, proportional-majority system would completely replace the party election system.

Why the proportional electoral system is so important for Georgia

Tents, furnaces and hot coffee – photos from the Tbilisi protests

By the evening of November 17, protesters were spending the night in tents in front of parliament, blocked the entrance to the parliament and did not allow MPs to enter the building.

In the afternoon, hundreds of masked police officers  with special equipment, shields and batons, were mobilized outside the parliament building and completely surrounded the parliament building.

On the afternoon of November 18, demonstrators were warned with a loudspeaker that they must leave the territory, otherwise the police would force the protest to disperse.

The protest began around 4 p.m.  Police used a water cannon to disperse protesters.  Unlike the June 20 crackdown, no rubber bullets were used.

Some of the protesters sat down or lay down on the ground to block the movement of the police.

However, an hour and a half after the start of the special operation, all parliamentary entrances blocked by the protesters had been opened.

The police dismantled all the tents installed by the demonstrators on Rustaveli Avenue.  Traffic on the avenue was opened as well.

18 protesters have been arrested.  There are also a number of people injured who were taken away by ambulances.

Hundreds of protesters are still on Rustaveli Avenue, although they have shifted away from the parliament building.  The rally continues, speakers come up to the podium to address the crowds.

Protesters say they are not going to disperse and will use all constitutional methods to change the government.

JAMnews photostory

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