Statement: Assault on our member
07 July 2020
We, Georgian Young Greens, with this statement would like to comment upon the incident that took place on the 4th of July, in Ambrolauri (region of Racha). Where our member - Nikoloz Ghlonti - was physically attacked by a former governor of Racha-Lechkhumi and lower Svaneti region who is currently a member of the political council of the United National Movement - Otar Siradze and his brother Davit Siradze. And the slander against our organisation afterwards.
To begin with, we would like to remind the reader that Georgian Young Greens is an independent, youth-led, political organisation and we are not affiliated to any party in Georgia, including Green Party of Georgia.
On the 4th of July in the region of Racha, a demonstration was held against the construction of the dam, which would have devastating results on the region, environment and the people. The demonstration was organised by a local community and was supported by other organisations, including Georgian Young Greens. During the demonstration the situation escalated when the representatives of the Strength is in Unity – United Opposition appeared as the local community protested against their presence and the latter was supported by Georgian Young Greens. Consequently, local community, alongside the green-minded organisations, left the primary location and moved to the other place, so that there was no presence of the political parties, who has a very bad reputation in the country, especially in this case of dams and care for the environment, as they have been doing the very same things and had similar, destructive approach while being in government.
After the rally ended, Otar Siradze and our members ran into each other on one of the streets of Ambrolauri. This was when Otar Siradze started assaulting our members verbally first from his vehicle, and then he and his brother left the car - this was when verbal abuse was transformed into a physical one. The Co-chair and Executive Committee member of Young Greens has taken video footage of the assault.
After the incident got media attention, the United National Movement, instead of apologizing and taking political responsibility for this violent act, tries to slander Georgian Young Greens, as the group connected to the Georgian Dream, while fully ignoring the fact that we have always been very critical towards the government and there is no evidence which confirms UNM's false allegations. Unfortunately, this kind of libel is not new for us - Georgian Dream also tried to link Georgian Young Greens to the UNM exactly a year ago when we organised a protest to preserve Digomi Forest and resist privatization and the construction of the restaurant within a forest which was advocated by the government. This very fact of slandering independent organisations by both, current and the former government parties, shows how corrupt those political parties are as well as that they are willing to do anything in order to not allow different perspectives and principles to exist and be heard.
At this moment the investigation process remains active.
We demand an objective investigation of the incident and the resignation of Otar Siradze from the political council.