Serious violations involving armed men breaking into precincts and falsifying vote tallies were reported from Shida Kartli region’s town of Khashuri hours after the polling stations were closed in the October 1 parliamentary elections.
One of the local observer groups, Transparency International Georgia reported that “special task force” servicemen entered into several polling stations in Khashuri and “modified” vote summary protocols.
“Our observer present at the precinct No. 46 reported that Georgian Dream had most of the ballots in vote summary protocol, but shortly afterwards armed persons arrived at the precinct, who have kicked all the observers out of the building. A new summary protocol was made in which the United National Movement was the winner. District Election Commission accepted this very protocol,” TI Georgia said on October 2.
“Our another observer reported that special task force also broke into the precinct number 19, where observers were physically assaulted and forced out of the precinct,” TI Georgia said.
Video footage disseminated by Info-9 news agency showed chaotic scenes outside, what it said was, precinct No.10 in Khashuri; the footage shows several uniformed men in masks coming from the precinct, taking seat in a police pick-up and leaving the area; then several other men, also in masks with one of them holding, what appears to be, a handgun, coming from the building as people gathered outside the precinct shouting and swearing at them.
Maestro TV footage showed also chaotic scenes outside precinct No. 3 in Khashuri; police forces in riot gear, carrying shields and truncheons and at least one of them holding what seemed to be a riot gun were also seen on the footage.
The Interior Ministry said that reports of police units used force and opened fire in the vicinity of polling stations were “false”.
“Police officers were protecting perimeter of those polling stations, where particular problems were identified. No guns or special means were used at place. On each polling station where police appeared and was mobilized due to call from polling stations, groups of activists, who were gathered there, left the area smoothly without any resistance,” the Interior Ministry said.