"Even though the Georgian Dream party, as a political subject, did not participate in organizing a protest rally in any form whatsoever, separate party members were identified as being involved in the Zugdidi incident," reads a statement published on the webpage of Georgian Dream on 30 July.
The Georgian Dream activists staged a violent rally to protest against the United National Movement [UNM] when it arrived in Zugdidi, Samegrelo region, to conduct a round of presidential primaries on 20 July. The activists of the Georgian Dream hurled stones and bottles full of water at UNM members and verbally abused them.
The political council of the Georgian Dream expelled one of its members, Zaal Todua, from its party ranks and reprimanded two others, Lasha Gogia and Gaioz Moniava, for participating in the incident in Zugdidi on 20 July.
"The Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia will always have a firm and fair position against such facts. In previous years and especially in the run up to the 2012 parliamentary elections, we repeatedly became an object of pressure, violence and injustice. However, as Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili has noted, this shameful practice must come to the end. We, as a party in the ruling coalition, are responsible for a fair conduct of [upcoming presidential] elections. Considering all that, the party calls on its each and every member and supporter to refrain from aggressive actions. Otherwise, the Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia will again undertake the toughest disciplinary measures," the statement of the political council reads.
The Georgian Dream has already made a statement about the Zugdidi incident, condemning the violence in Zugdidi, but, at the same time, deemed the statements made by the UNM, in which the UNM declared that the protest rally was organized and the violence encouraged by the Georgian Dream, as an attempt to discredit the pre-election campaign.