[Skip to Content]

Subscribe to our web page

აქციის მონაწილეების საყურადღებოდ! საერთო ცხელი ხაზი +995 577 07 05 63


 საერთო ცხელი ხაზი +995 577 07 05 63


Activism and the Exercise of the Right to Freedom of Assembly - Analysis of Georgian Practice


The political crisis and socio-economic predicaments in the country often give rise to various types of public protests. In the wake of the convoluted political and social background in recent years, the handling of public or political conflicts by the state through the police apparatus has shown disposition. The government's attempt to create venues and precedents for genuine political or public dialogue are proving more and more futile. In the exercise of good governance, conversely, greater emphasis is placed on police restraint and control measures.

The police force is rapidly emerging as a primary vehicle for managing processes, both during political crises and in conflicts related to various social concerns. It is particularly problematic for the authorities to sustain a balance between freedom of peaceful assembly and the maintenance of public order and security. Furthermore, in most cases, the government favors the latter and ensures this by employing disproportionate police force, the immediate outcome of which is an unjustified restriction of individual freedoms. At the same time, the ineptitude and apparent passivity of the police in individual cases, resulting in egregious abuses of the rights to peaceful assembly and bodily integrity, should be recognized.

Excessive force (and, in some situations, a lack of authority) by law enforcement not only violates individuals' freedom of expression in specific gatherings but also has a chilling effect, impeding freedom of assembly and expression throughout the country as a whole. This works to instill fear in society, which in turn suppresses the protest spark.[1]

This report envelopes the administered cases and their respective analyses within the framework of the project "Legal Aid Network for Activists" in the period from the beginning of 2021 through March 2022. The document assesses the police actions during the peaceful demonstrations during the above-mentioned period, the proportionality of the force employed, and the efficacy of the state response to the violations.

The document also details the shortcomings of the administrative proceedings and the findings of the ongoing investigation pertaining to the citizens and the police. The document is based on information collected from relevant agencies, accessible documents available through public sources, as well as surveys/reports produced by organizations involved in the project.

The trends and findings presented in the study are based on legal assistance and strategic litigation administered by partner organizations (Georgian Democratic Initiative, Georgian Young Lawyers Association, Social Justice Center, Rights Georgia, and Human Rights Center) from July 1, 2021, to March 31, 2022. It is noteworthy that during this period, partner organizations provided legal assistance to 172 individuals. Of these, 108 cases pertain to administrative offenses, including 40 cases related to the rallies held in October-November, and 18 concerning those who were detained for the solidarity of Ukraine and criticism of the Georgian government. It is noteworthy that in almost a third of administrative liability cases, the court-imposed fines on activists (the amount of the fine varied from 2,000 to 3,800 GEL), while in a third, the proceedings have not yet been completed. At this stage, 21 cases were completed (proceedings were terminated / no fact of violation was established / resolution was revoked / or a reprimand was issued).

There are 66 cases administered by organizations in the field of criminal law. Of these, 57 are victims of criminal cases (although some of them have not yet received their victim status). Of note are 34 cases of journalists and activists who incurred losses as a result of the July 5 attacks, as well as 13 cases of victims of illegal wiretapping by the SSSG. In 3 criminal cases, the organizations defend the interests of the accused activist, and in 6 cases the persons interviewed as witnesses.

The full document can be found in the attached file.


Footnote and Bibliography

[1] Nurettin Aldemir and Others v. Turkey, § 34; Balçık and Others v. Turkey, § 41; The United Macedonian Organisation Ilinden and Ivanov v. Bulgaria, § 135; Nemtsov v. Russia, § 77-78

The website accessibility instruction

  • To move forward on the site, use the button “tab”
  • To go back/return use buttons “shift+tab”