Serious investigation of excesses in the aftermath of disruption of the street protest on May 26 will be very important for the credibility of the government, John Bass, the U.S. ambassador to Georgia, said on June 3.
"It’s clear that there were excesses in the aftermath of the disruption of the protest," he told Palitra TV website and added that he was concerned of reports about people missing and of allegations that people had been beaten in detention.
"I think it’s very important for the credibility of this government going forward that they address those allegations and reports seriously and conduct a serious investigation because that’s the only way overtime people in the society will increase their confidence in the responsibility and objectivity of government and its institutions," the U.S. diplomat said.
He said suggestions that his May 25 remarks about the protest rally were "a green light" for the authorities to disperse the demonstration were "unfounded". Some opposition politicians, including Sozer Subari, a former public defender and leader of the Georgian Party, voiced such allegation.
"I find those allegations unfounded," John Bass said and added that the U.S. supports the people of Georgia not specific political parties.
"We are not looking for a specific outcome, we are not supporting a specific person or a party in Georgia’s democratic evolution; we are supporting the development of strong, legitimate institutions, and electoral systems and processes."
"In that context I said, before the protest was broken up and after, that we strongly believe that democratic societies must include the right to peacefully protest and the right of citizens’ to express their views freely. However, I also said, that that does not mean that those rights come without any responsibility at all and that people can protest wherever and whenever they want to and that government has the responsibility for maintaining public order and for ensuring that the rights of other citizens in society, who may not be protesting, are also respected," Ambassador Bass said.
"That seems to me there was a potential for a good compromise - protestors were offered an opportunity to protest somewhere else; they declined to do that; there was a clear evidence of people in that crowd who were looking for violence and I found that concerning," he said.