Police repressions in Batumi are aimed at suppressing a decent protest

GDI recounts the events of July 31, 2023, involving the second arrival of a Russian cruise ship at Batumi port and the subsequent protest against its presence.

In light of the stated objectives and nature of the protest, GDI deems it fair and legitimate. It serves as a response to the perceived risks posed to Georgia due to the apparent convergence of policies and interests between the authorities of Georgia and the Russian Federation. The utilisation of a colossal police force to confront the demonstrators, their subsequent arrests, and the police's repressive actions all clearly appear to be aimed at quelling and suppressing the dignified expression of protest by the gathered individuals.

A few days before the protest, it came to light that the Russian cruise ship "Astoria Grande" was scheduled to dock at Batumi port for the second time on July 31 in the morning. According to reports, the ship carries Russian citizens, including individuals supportive of the war in Ukraine and Putin himself. In response to this, a protest action was organised at the port of Batumi. Late in the evening on July 30, demonstrators had already assembled near the port. However, the police intervened, blocking the streets and cordoning off the port area before the scheduled demonstration, citing security reasons. The Ministry of Internal Affairs deployed a significant number of police officers in the vicinity. Simultaneously, as reported by the media, robocops and special forces were also observed on the scene. During the course of the rally, the police have thus far detained 23 participants, on charges provided for by Articles 166 and 173 of the General Administrative Code of Georgia.

The participants of the rally are exercising their constitutional rights to freedom of assembly and demonstrations protected by the Constitution of Georgia. The actions taken by the police egregiously infringe upon those rights. Moreover, it's essential to note that any violation of the right to assembly or demonstration, as well as intentional unlawful detention or arrest, constitutes a criminal offence according to the Criminal Code of Georgia.


GDI calls on the Ministry of Internal Affairs to stop the repression and gross violation of the rights of the protestors.