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People Fleeing Conflict Areas Angry over being ‘Left Unprotected’

A group of villagers from the areas in and around the South Ossetian conflict zone, who have fled the region, were gathered outside the Parliament on Wednesday evening.

A Georgian-language website posted a video showing several dozen of displaced persons on the Tbilisi’s main thoroughfare complaining angrily about, what they called, the Georgian authorities failure to protect them and expressing desperate disappointment with the west and in particular with the Unites States.

One woman in the footage shouts angrily: “We pinned our hopes on America; did not we? Our soldiers were in Iraq; where is America now, where is it?”

Another woman says: “They are holding concerts. Is it time for concerts now? People are dieing.”

She was making a reference to a mass gathering in Tbilisi on August 12, when tens of thousands of people were gathered outside the Parliament in, what President Saakashvili said, was show of unity amid Russia’s aggression. Senior governmental members were delivering patriotic speeches at the rally vowing not to surrender and fight to the end, while singers were performing patriotic songs.

The video also shows another man speaking with the patrol police officer complaining: “Why did they [the authorities] leave us alone? Why did the troops pulled out? Why did they leave the villages and people there unprotected?”

“They are strong,” a police officer replies, apparently referring to the Russian troops.

“Oh really?” the man continued, “then why starting all these things at all? Did it have any sense? Why so many people die for?”

Vice-Mayor of Tbilisi Mamuka Akhvlediani came at the scene later trying to calm angry displaced people by vowing to provide them with shelter. But people who surrounded him responded even more angrily telling him shelter was not as important for them as the need “to save those still remaining” in the villages now controlled by the Russian forces and the South Ossetian militias.

“Why did not you give us arms, we could have at least defended ourselves,” a woman was shouting at Akhvlediani. “We were left unprotected there.”

Akhvlediani then again tried to allay them by saying that he was only in charge of taking care of them and finding a shelter for them.

Officials say over 23,000 displaced persons have been registered as of August 13. Most of them found shelter in public schools and kindergartens and hundreds of tents are being installed by the authorities in the outskirt of Tbilisi.

Meanwhile, UN Resident Coordinator in Georgia, Robert Watkins, said on August 14 that the UN agencies and other humanitarian organizations had no access to the conflict zones, particularly South Ossetia. He called on all sides to establish a humanitarian corridor, as agreed in the ceasefire plan.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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