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The Georgian parliament is going to stiffen democracy2009-07-03 16:58
The Georgian parliament is preparing new projects that will limit the life of civil society. Irritated by compulsory business trips caused by the oppositional actions being held under their windows, the delegates have drawn up special draft laws forbidding any cage-wards on the roadway and permitting the use of plastic bullets. Another legislative initiative is going to enforce control over the parties' finances.
Confrontation between the authorities and the opposition in Tbilisi has accrued a number of unflattering facts of violation against the civil rights. Those include the use of plastic bullets, hand-to-hand fighting between the hired daredevils and the demonstrators, taking away the participants of the protest actions which rather resembles abduction, and finding listening devices in the offices of the oppositional parties. So long as nothing can be done here, the authorities decided to protect themselves from further rebukes on the part of the human rights defenders.
It became known on the 1st of July that the Georgian parliamentarians have worked out a number of draft laws limiting the methods of protest expression, as Commersant reports.
Specifically, the delegates suggest extending a thirty-day administrative penalty for any offences during the demonstrations and mass actions up to ninety days. It is also planned to tighten the fines, including those imposed for writing on buildings and monuments. It seems like this category of offence also includes putting ties on the fences and letting rabbits into someone's residence. This kind of amendments will probably be made to the Code of Administrative Offences.
Another amendment will be made to the Demonstrations and Meetings Act to prohibit blocking of motor roads unless the amount of protesters is large enough. According to Chairman of the Parliamentary Legal Committee Pavel Kublashvili, it will be strictly prohibited to block the road with imitated barriers, as Civil.ge reports. Thus, the cages put up by the opposition in Rustaveli avenue will be proclaimed beyond the law.
The amendments will bring most satisfaction to taxi drivers who have twice expressed their protest during the oppositional insubordination campaign. The first action held on May, 22 ended in a scuffle between the drivers and the defenders of the "cage town" erected on the roadway in front of the parliament. The last action was held on July, 1 when the drivers expressed their protest against blocking the central road. They do not want to "wind up" extra kilometers because of the blocked roads and bear additional expenses on gasoline. Besides, there are traffic jams in the neighbouring streets because of the piling transport. The opposition does not regard these arguments to be strong enough, asserting that the drivers' action was arranged by the authorities.
As soon as the law about limiting the demonstrations is passed, such conflicts will no longer repeat. "In future, any blocking of the streets with cages or any other constructions will be instantly followed by relevant measures taken by the law-enforcement agencies", - Kublashvili has warned.
The delegates also suggest amending the Police Act. The policemen will be granted a right to use the so-called non-lethal weapons while performing their job responsibilities. It can be any weapon that allegedly does not constitute any danger for one's life and has been tested in the European countries. These weapons include plastic bullets, which use resulted in several oppositionists having been taken to hospital on May, 6 and another two having lost their sight.