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Statement of the President of Georgia on Rustaveli Avenue Events

Statement of the President of Georgia on Rustaveli Avenue Events President Salome Zourabichvili made a special statement, after cutting her working visit to Minsk:
“From the start, let me say how heartbroken I am because of the tragedy that took place in Tbilisi. People were injured – some, because they defended order within the state; others, because they came out to preserve their personal dignity along with the dignity of the country, and then found themselves in an uncontrolled situation; and some, just because they were misled by politically-motivated, totally senseless and destructive statements.


“Everyone who stood in the street yesterday, including policemen and ordinary citizens, were there for their country, for our country. Everyone is a child of Georgia, equally beloved. And, I know that today, each of you is saying: ‘We’ve already suffered enough from internal disputes and external aggressions!’ “I extend my profound sympathy to all families who were affected by this tragedy. This is not just their personal tragedy. This is the whole country’s tragedy.
“Let me express my special gratitude to the staff of emergency services and healthcare professionals, who were and still are taking care of our citizens. Furthermore, I would like to extend my gratitude to our policemen, who thoroughly tried to give our citizens an opportunity to express their protest in a peaceful way. “Regrettably, the form of protest went beyond the constitutional framework and forced law enforcement to use strict measures. “Law enforcement agencies are responsible for state security; however, this is no excuse to those individuals who I will see in a few minutes at the hospitals. It is necessary to investigate each case and react within the legal framework. “Indeed, the expression of my sorrow is not enough to overcome this situation. On the one hand, the country’s authority, in particular the legislative body, cannot and will not escape political responsibilities – and we have already witnessed that it has not escaped from this responsibility. Politics, as well as ruling the country, means mitigating risks and foreseeing outcomes.
“This was not done the day before yesterday. And as a result, we ended up in a situation of hosting the Interparliamentary Orthodox Assembly and Russian MPs on the highest chair in Parliament, a totally unacceptable format.
“The incident seriously insulted our society and caused the entire nation’s protest. “We cannot exclude that this situation escalated due to provocations, however this cannot be an excuse to forego our responsibilities. “We should take responsibility for the whole chain of events and make the proper conclusions. “I wait that the executive government will evaluate the tragedy the right way and every question will be answered. “On the other hand, it is important to raise the issue of legal responsibility of those citizens who have put the country under such threat.
“The purpose of those who wish for the escalation and plan destabilization is obvious. They aim to execute Russia’s century-old plan with unconstitutional and anti-state activities.
They wish to split Georgian society, weaken it, enslave the State and destroy the basis of our country’s independence. “Our society should understand that as we clash inside the country, we weaken each other and strengthen the enemy. When our neighboring country occupies our territories, we all should be utterly cautious. “Today, we should not be divided along the lines of government, police, parties, and citizens because this tragedy unites us all. Now, it is important to find the strength in ourselves not to be broken by this tragedy and turn away from our main path. “I urge the population to greater calmness. We should not fall prey to new provocations and destructive proclamations.
“I believe in your prudence. “I am ready to meet all political parties who promise to stay away from violence and destruction. “We have no option but unification, reconciliation and following our European path. “Only this way can we manage to stand in front of Russia. Only this way can we respond to the occupation. “Only this way can we show Georgia’s dignity to the world.”
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