skip to content

Opposition Vows to Keep Protesting

Many thousands of people gathered outside the Parliament on November 2 at the largest protest rally for recent years. Imedi TV airs a live broadcast of the protest rally.
In their address to the protesters the opposition leaders have again reiterated that they would keep protesting unless the President Saakashvili fulfils their four major demands.

?We are not going to disperse unless we receive an acceptable response from the authorities over our demands,? Gia Tortladze of the Movement for United Georgia said.

?This is a day of victory for us? None of the politician now standing here want presidency, or to be Prime Minister, or a minister, we just want the people live in welfare. Victory is very close,? Shalva Natelashvili, the leader of Labor Party, said.

?We should build the state wherein the priority will be an individual person, people. This day is the beginning of our victory. People are ready for action. Let?s act, let?s stand together,? Konstantine Gamsakhurdia, the leader of Freedom Party, said.

A speech by MP Zviad Dzidziguri of the opposition Conservative Party was more radical in contrast to other opposition leaders.

?Four-year long illness of the [ruling] National Movement Party has ended and it has passed away,? he said. ?The verdict has been ruled: this government should go, it should be thrown into a political garbage box.?

?This is really a civil heroism and expression of civic responsibility to come here and express protest,? Tina Khidasheli of the Republican Party said. ?We should stand here unless our authorities understand that this country belongs to its citizens. I do not know how long we will stay here, but we should be here unless the authorities make any compromise and appoint elections.?

?This evil and weakling government has tried to enslave you but it has failed,? Jondi Bagaturia, the leader of Georgian Troupe, said.

?What is difference between the Shah Abbas [Abbas I, the Shah of Persia notorious in Georgia for his invasion of Kakheti in the early 17th century] and President Saakashvili? Nothing,? Koba Davitashvili, the leader of Party of People, said.

Groups of people from the provinces started to arrive in the capital late on November 1. Imedi TV was airing a live footage showing a long convoy of cars and minibuses with protesters arriving from the western provinces of Georgia ? a resemblance of footage which the Rustavi 2 TV was airing when protesters was arriving in Tbilisi back in 2003 ahead of the Rose Revolution.
Ten-party opposition coalition pushes for four demands:

? Holding of parliamentary elections in spring 2008, instead of late next year;
? Creation of new election administrations with representatives from political parties;
? Change of the current majoritarian election system ? a first-past-the-post, ?winner takes all? system;
? Release of ?political prisoners? and ?prisoners of conscience,? referring to  Irakli Batiashvili.

Opposition leaders say these are, what they call, ?moderate demands.? Koba Davitashvili, the leader of Party of People, said on November 1 that the opposition did not want ?to corner the authorities by radical demands.?

?We do not want a revolution, we want elections,? he said. ?We are leaving a room to the authorities for a face-saving decision? I am sure the authorities will compromise? Our demands are not ultimatums.?

The authorities? response is that it is ?a normal process, part of democracy,? but they also warn that the developments ?should not go beyond constitutional frames.?

Gigi Ugulava the Tbilisi Mayor said late on November 1 that the opposition?s drive was ?an untalented attempt to imitate 2003 [Rose Revolution] events.?

?Demonstration is not a right place for a dialogue over concrete issues,? Nino Burjanadze, the Parliamentary Chairperson, said on November 2. ?We can find a compromise on some issues, while there might be issues where it will be impossible to compromise.?
The ruling party officials have made it clear that they are not going to compromise on change of elections date.

No signs of violence have been reported. Police has sealed off the streets and areas surrounding the Rustaveli Avenue, the Tbilisi’s main thoroughfare in front of the parliament, as part of the capital city municipality?s pledge to provide security at the opposition?s protest rally. A small unit of policemen in riot gear has been seen in distance from the Parliament.


Back to top button