Police in Georgia detain protesters demanding early election

Riot police use a water canon to disperse demonstrators during a protest against the government demanding an early parliamentary election in Tbilisi, Georgia November 18, 2019. REUTERS/Irakli Gedenidze

Police fired tear gas and water cannon to disperse protesters near Georgia’s parliament on Monday and arrested several, a Reuters reporter said.

The violence broke out a day after 20,000 people rallied in the centre of the Georgian capital Tbilisi to protest against the government and demand an early parliamentary election.

Dozens of protesters gathered in four places near parliament on Monday shouting “Long live Georgia”.

Hundreds of police officers were then deployed to the scene, who gave protesters 30 minutes to disperse before using water cannon and then tear gas against crowds.

A Reuters reporter saw several protesters being arrested. Opposition activists said dozens have been arrested

One group of protesters remained in front of parliament afterwards, some giving speeches on a stage as police looked on.

The protest took place days after the ex-Soviet country’s parliament failed to pass a planned electoral reform, a move to full proportional representation from the mixed system at present.

Currently almost half of lawmakers in parliament are elected not by party lists, but in single-mandate constituencies.