Restrict Merge without Merge Requests

Is it possible to restrict user for performing a merge onto a protected branch when there is no merge request for the changes?

If there is a merge request we want users to be able to merge manually, but when there is no merge request for the changes we want to restrict the user for performing git merge && git push.

Running GitLab EE 14.10


According to this link it’s possible with subscription offerings allowing greater permission granularity/flexibility: Merge request approvals | GitLab

This link: Merge request approval rules | GitLab seems to explain it can be done on protected branches.

You may wish to check if free versions allows the approval rules or not though.