|Georgia Backs Restrictions on Public Protests After Deaths|
|Sunday, 03 July 2011|
By Helena Bedwell
Georgian lawmakers gave final approval to a bill to impose restrictions on public protests after two people were killed at an anti-government rally in May, easing some curbs from an earlier version.
The bill restricts rallies from encroaching on buildings such as airports, prevents small protests from obstructing streets and prohibits demonstrators from possessing dangerous objects or consuming alcohol, parliament member Chiora Taktakishvili said by phone in Tbilisi today.
The final version of the bill gives protesters the right to demonstrate around some government buildings and block streets if they receive prior permission, relaxing restrictions from the first reading, said Taktakishvili, first deputy chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Legal Issues.
President Mikheil Saakashvili, who came to power after the so-called Rose Revolution in 2003, has repeatedly faced challenges from former allies calling for his resignation. The new regulations follow a May 26 rally in Tbilisi where a demonstrator and a police officer were killed and at least 19 people were injured.
The bill needs to be signed by Saakashvili to take effect.
Separately, lawmakers approved the relocation of the parliament to the Caucasus nation’s second-largest city of Kutaisi from 2012, Taktakishvili said.
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