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Amendments to Law on Rallies Approved
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 1 Jul.'11 / 19:25

Parliament passed on July 1 amendments to the law on assembly and manifestation with its third and final reading.

The initial draft underwent number of amendments since it was approved with its first reading on June 21.

The final version of the text no longer envisages an outright ban of holding rallies within 20-meter radius from court buildings; instead courts themselves will have an authority to impose such a ban with a purpose to prevent blocking of a court building and hindering of court’s work by protesters. The law also specifies that such decision should not “ignore essence” of a constitutional right of freedom of assembly.

The same rules will apply to state agencies and ministries, which will have the authority to impose ban on holding rallies within 20-meter radius from their buildings.

The amendments envisage an outright ban on holding rallies within 20-meter radius from the entrance of prosecutor’s office; police stations; detention facilities; railway stations; airports and ports.

Holding a rally within 100-meter radius from military bases and military facilities is also banned, according to the amended law.

The final version of the text also specifies a provision, which calls on the authorities to protect “balance” between the interest and rights of protesters and those who live, work and run businesses in the vicinity of a protest venue.

According to the final text, this provision becomes irrelevant when a rally takes place for “a short period of time.” It also says, that when it comes to protecting of this balance, it is up to the local authorities to impose limitations on duration and venue of a rally; but in such case the authorities should offer organizers alternative options for a protest venue.

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