WASHINGTON, July 13 (Reuters) – The State Department on Tuesday called for calm in the republic of Georgia after the death of a cameraman beaten up during violence against LGBT activists and said those who attacked peaceful protesters and journalists should be prosecuted.
State Department spokesman Ned Price told a regular news briefing that Washington was following the situation in Georgia and was committed to seeing that those responsible are held accountable.
“The safety of every Georgian journalist, and the credibility of democracy and Georgia, in fact, require that every individual who attacked peaceful protesters, and journalists on July 5 and 6, or those who incited violence, they must be identified, they should be arrested and prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” Price said.
“We remind Georgia’s leaders and it law enforcement of their responsibility to protect all of those exercising their constitutional rights. We remind them of their responsibility to protect journalists exercising the freedom of the press.”
Hundreds rallied in the capital, Tbilisi, on Sunday after the death of Alexander Lashkarava, one of several journalists assaulted as violent groups ransacked an LBGT+ campaign office, prompting activists to call off a pride march.
Scuffles broke out in Georgia’s parliament on Monday as journalists and opposition politicians tried to enter the lower house in protest over the death of the cameraman.