Population responded with massive protest action to the intrusion of 30 State Security Ministry employees into the office of Rustavi 2 broadcasting company onOctober 30. As for 7 pm, October 31, there are approximately 5000 people gathered in front of the Parliament buliding, demanding resignation of the ‘power ministers’ and President Shevardnadze. Students, journalists and representatives of the non-governmental organizations are participating in thedemonstration along with the parliament members and politicians.
Politicians and social activists Givi Targamadze, Irina Sarishvili-Chanturia, Nana Kakabadze, Kote Kemularia, Nino Burjanadze, Elene Tevdoradze and Gia Baramidze are giving their comments about the events on the web-page of Civil Georgia online magazine.
NGO “Liberty Institute”
Action against Rustavi 2 was an order by President Shevardnadze, implemented by the ministries of Internal Affairs and State Security. I suppose that the idea of action against independent broadcasting company belongs to Badri Patarkatsishvili.
President’s family and Targamadze-Patarkatsishvili couple are launching total offensive on free media. Were its possible, arrangements are done using Patarkatsishvili’s money, but sometimes Targamadze’s forceful methods are to be used. We have this particular case with Rustavi 2.
On the one hand it was rather stupid way of doing things, but on the other hand it was very dangerous event. These processes prove that the government is dieing. The government still believes that it can break free will with force. We need massive and hard protest of the people to avoid this.
Leader of the National-Democratic Party
It is very regrettable that the whole opposition except us stands to support untruth. Events of the last two days have nothing to do with protection of the freedom of speech. This is a struggle to keep Citizens’ Union at power with transformed image.
These events might have very negative consequences if President himself is interested in it, but if his is not, then he should restore stability in the capital city. Resignation of any of the ministers is not permissible; it would look like rats running from the sinking boat.
This disorder is completely fabricated. Rustaveli Avenue may not be blocked because of 150 men. Of course there are people with their own problems, believing that they can solve their difficulties standing like a herd of sheep. More time they spend, more difficult would it be to restore an order. None of those who stand there think of Abkhazia.
This is not a natural protest. This is an ‘artificial’ protestation and if the government members decide to stop provocation such a disorder, believe me, no one would keep standing in front of the Parliament building. Zhvania and Saakashvili’s team is standing behind this protest, and even President, if he decides to fire the ministers.
NGO “Former Political Prisoners for Human Rights”
The government attacked not one independent TV Company, but whole freedom of speech, which is among of most important achievements of our society.
If our people would stay on its ground and defend this value, freedom of speech would not be threatened.
One group of the non-governmental organizations makes concrete demand about political responsibility of the President and the officials of the power ministries. They call upon the Parliament to make all necessary steps to implement such procedure.
Member of the Parliament, former member of the “Citizens’ Union”
It is apparent that these processes and reaction of the population on the violence against Rustavi 2 Company should change situation in the country. I am afraid that this is a worst way to change the situation. Therefore the Government must make wise steps and make improvements itself. Otherwise protest of the population may evolve into large-scale disorder.
The Parliament has already adopted (on October 31st) a decision regarding creation of a special commission, which would work on legal basis for the mechanism of impeachment of the power ministers and other responsible officials.
Member of the Parliament, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee
Actions that power structures have done against Rustavi 2 show shortsightedness of the Government. I fear that protest of the population may evolve into more serious destabilization. Escalation of instability will be fatal for Georgia.
The Parliament would definitely rise the issue of responsibility of the power ministers. They should be punished and we will achieve this.
Member of the Parliament, Chairman of the Human Rights Committee
People’s reaction on the events around Rustavi 2 showed me that the population is ready to defend the freedom of speech.
Resignation of the State Security Minister is a victory of our people, but this must not satisfy us. We should demand resignation of Kakha Targamadze and other responsible officials.
Member of the Parliament, Chairman of the Defense and Security Committee
This was an attempt to establish authoritarian and police regime in the country.
The Parliament must raise the issue of responsibility of every government official, including President, who has been involved in this action.
I think that chances that Shevardnadze was involved in the case are high. Me must not think like “poor President, power strictures are doing illegal things behind his back”. This is not true. It is clear that President knows everything about what is going on.