18:02, Monday, 25.01.2021
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Riot Police Faked Election Results in Khashuri


Aleksi Bezhanishvili

TV Company Maestro has reported that riot police used gas and rubber bullets in polling station # 3 in Khashuri and . Riot police then stole the ballot box. Witnesses allege that riot police shot rubber bullets. After they left the polling station, people shouted: “Fascists!” Clergymen were also in the vicinity.

Local citizens told TV-Company Maestro that riot police were mobilized in the central street of Khashuri. “We demand that riot police immediately leave Khashuri,” the locals stated.

Georgian Dream’s member Gogi Topadze said their majoritarian candidate Valeri Gelashvili won the elections in Khashuri and the government’s representatives did their best not to allow it.

“They started hooliganism here. They are doing their best to prevent Valeri's victory. The entire population of Khashuri is protesting. An army of people is standing in the town center,” Gogi Topadze said. The situation escalated in Khashuri after polling stations closed and commission members started counting.

According to Transparency International Georgia, riot police faked election results in Khashuri.

The organization issued a statement about the current situation in Khashuri Election District and stated that according to their information, riot police officers entered several polling stations and amended the final protocols.

“Our observer from polling station # 46 said the final protocol drawn up after counting the votes showed that Georgian Dream had gained a majority of votes. However, a short time later armed people entered the polling station and expelled all the observers. Then they wrote new final protocols where UNM was the winner. And the DEC accepted this particular protocol. According to our second observer, a riot police unit broke into polling station # 19 where they physically assaulted observers and expelled them from the PS,” TI-Georgia’s statement reads.

According to the organization, the OSCE monitoring mission also provided them with information about violations in Khashuri; they stated that “riot police had broken into the polling stations # 5 and 45.”

“We call upon the relevant agencies to immediately respond to the violations and take all necessary measures; otherwise the election results in the entire election district will be under suspicion,” the statement reads.

Riot police were mobilized in polling station # 10 in Khashuri too. The situation was tense all day long yesterday. At night, clergymen together with local residents marched in the streets in protest. They decided to hold a peaceful demonstration after riot police officers opened fire in the center of the town.

“There were many attempts at falsification but they managed to fraud only a very small percentage of the votes. Everybody who works in the governmental institutions participated in the falsification; people from Tbilisi also assisted them. Luckily people were brave enough and they became heroes; people who were ordered to fake election results came and stood beside us,” a clergyman participating in the protest said.

According to Interpresnews, participants of the peaceful demonstration stopped near the District Election Commission for a short time.

Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association also expressed its position about the situation in Khashuri. GYLA filed complaints to the Khashuri DEC # 35 and requested the annulment of election results from PS# 3, 5, 10, 19, 45 and 46.

GYLA states that the reason for their request was  the entrance of riot police in the aforementioned polling stations and amended final protocols. GYLA also requests the annulment of the election results of PS # 26, where observers were expelled.

Georgian MIA did not confirm that police officers opened fire in polling stations. The MIA statement reads that the information published by several media organizations stating that  police units used force nearby polling stations and opened fire is false.

“The information which was disseminated by several media organizations, that police units have used force and opened fire in the vicinity of polling stations, is false. The Ministry of Internal Affairs categorically denies this information. Police officers were protecting the perimeter of those polling stations, where particular problems were identified. No guns or special measures were used there. At each polling station where police appeared and were mobilized, due to a call from polling stations, gathered groups of activists left the area calmly, without any resistance,” the MIA statement reads.

According to IPN, at midnight several patients poisoned by tear gas were delivered to Khashuri hospital. The doctor on duty said only one of them needed to be hospitalized. The 29-year-old man is still in Khashuri hospital with an acute form of intoxication. However, hospital personnel said supposedly they will dismiss him soon.

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