Protesters Gathered at National Library Ahead of President’s Address

A group of protesters are gathered outside the National Library where President Saakashvili is expected to arrive to deliver address to the nation scheduled for 6pm on Friday.

Protesters, which also include some of those former inmates who were released after they were recognized by the Parliament as political prisoners, demand their representatives to be allowed to attend the President’s address to then ask him questions.

Scuffle reportedly erupted inside the building after some of the protesters broke into the library hall.

“We are here to force Saakashvili to pass through our corridor of shame,” Melor Vachnadze, one of the protester, said.

The police forces are on the ground trying to contain the crowd from the entrance of the library, but chaotic scenes prevail.   

President’s spokesperson, Manana Manjgaladze, said that despite of “planned provocations, which aim at thwarting” the President’s address, the event would not be canceled. She accused PM Bidzina Ivanishvili of being behind the protest at the National Library.

“Personally the Prime Minister will have to bear full responsibility for the provocation,” Manjgaladze said.

President Saakashvili’s annual address was originally scheduled for February 8 in the Parliament, but the Georgian Dream parliamentary majority said on Thursday that the President’s address in the Parliament could only be held after resolving row over proposed constitutional changes on presidential powers. In response the President’s administration said on Thursday that Saakashvili would make his annual address from the National Library. Foreign diplomats, journalists, UNM lawmakers, representatives from the civil society groups were among the invited guests to attend the President’s address in the National Library.

Asked about the planned event, PM Bidzina Ivanishvili told journalists earlier on February 8: “He did not go to Parliament, instead went to the library, but not for reading [books] – he is not a reader, he’s not a writer either; he’s a speaker.”


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