Protestors in Tbilisi trying to get into parliament building. Video
Local Georgian media estimate 30,000 people are protesting in the centre of Tbilisi and trying to break into the courtyard of the parliament building.
They are opposed by special police forces.
Opposition leaders and many protesters are holding both arms up with open hands, declaring the protest is a peaceful one, and that weapons will not be used.
The protesters went to breakthrough the police cordon after the expiration of an ultimatum put forward by one of the leaders of the opposition United National Movement party – Nika Melia.
Melia demanded the resignation of the speaker of the Parliament, the heads of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the State Security Service.
The rally began after a session of the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy was opened by Russian Duma MP Sergey Gavrilov from the seat of the Georgian parliamentary speaker.
This caused outrage at first on the part of the parliamentary opposition, and then the members of the parliamentary majority.
Representatives of the ruling Georgian Dream party have apologized and called the incident a “protocol error.”
The leaders of various opposition parties are present at the scene of the confrontation.
Rustavi 2 cited former Georgian Defense Minister and leader of the Victorious Georgia movement, Irakli Okruashvili, as saying: “either the police will let the demonstrators through, or the people will use their constitutional right.”
“We are going to return to the people the power that Ivanishvili has taken from them”, said Okruashvili.
The Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs issued a statement in which it demanded that the demonstrators “stop [the] violence”, otherwise the police will use all measures provided for by law against them.
Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia, in an interview with Rustavi 2, said that what is currently happening in front of parliament a tragedy.
“The attack on state institutions and the call for such an attack and an attack on the police, however it ends, will be assessed accordingly and all the guilty parties will be punished,” Gakharia said.
Gakharia urged citizens to respect the police officers who are doing their duty.