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Alliance of Patriots Holds Anti-UNM Rallies

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The Alliance of Patriots, a radical right-wing outfit, held two rallies against the opposition United National Movement, reiterating the party’s electoral support for the Georgian Dream-endorsed presidential candidate Salome Zurabishvili.

The party convened a large-scale rally on Freedom Square in Tbilisi on November 25, two days after holding a smaller demonstration in Batumi in the Autonomous Republic of Adjara.

The Alliance of Patriots was established in late 2012, and has been running on a populist nationalist and socially conservative platform since, simultaneously advocating better relations with Russia. The party has a six-member faction in the Parliament. It lost one lawmaker in September, but was saved from dissolution as MP Davit Chichinadze, a former ruling party lawmaker, joined the parliamentary group.

The rally, held under the slogan of “No to Natsebi – Save Georgia,” was opened by Davit Tarkhan-Mouravi, one of the leaders of the Alliance of Patriots, who called on the supporters to vote for Zurabishvili. “You have to go to polling stations so that we win with 80%.”

Tarkhan-Mouravi then spoke on the United National Movement. “We have to understand who they are – they are the ones who incarcerated 300,000 or 10% of the population, who tortured and killed people, who surrendered and sold Kodori and Akhalgori [to Russians],” he said.

“Saakashvili was pledging to send everyone to jail, but it has to be Saakashvili, Bokeria and all others who have to be imprisoned; there has to be no mercy, no one should think that this will be over today – the struggle begins today; unless we punish, crush and destroy them, unless UNM disappears entirely, there won’t be peace in the country,” Tarkhan-Mouravi added.

MP Irma Inashvili, another leader of the Alliance of Patriots, addressed the demonstration next. “When we say no to UNM – we are saying no to torture of prisoners, no to street killings of youth, no to seizure of property, no to surrendering of our country’s lands,” Inashvili said.

“Bokerias and Saakashvilis will not improve, and we won’t let Georgia to these maniacs; we have to unite, gather forces and go to elections – we have to support Zurabishvili and show her that she is elected not by the Georgian Dream, but by the Georgian people,” she added.

Several high profile criminal cases under the UNM government were mentioned at the rally, including the Robakidze and Girgvliani murder cases in 2004 and 2006, respectively.

Two parallel, but significantly smaller rallies were organized in Tbilisi on November 25, one at a nearby location on Rustaveli Avenue to commemorate the 20th birthday of Temirlan Machalikashvili, and another one in Vake neighbourhood, also an anti-UNM rally, held by a youth group, and dubbed “Do not let Oppressors Return to Power.”

The Alliance of Patriots rally came few weeks after the “I Defend Freedom,” a newly-established public movement, held an identical rally on Rustaveli Avenue. The “I Defend Freedom” movement, together with four other anti-UNM groups established shortly after the first round, has been actively campaigning against the opposition candidate, holding rallies countrywide and speaking to voters on possible consequences of UNM’s return to power.

Reactions in the opposition

MP Sergi Kapanadze of the European Georgia, which has voiced its support to UNM-led coalition’s Grigol Vashadze, said that the ruling party “made an unprecedented thing” on November 25 – “it has organized a rally against the opposition, bused its activists from the regions and labeled it as the Alliance of Patriots’s rally.”

Kapanadze was apparently referring to some media reports that participants of the rally were activists of the ruling Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia (GDDG) party, and were transported from across the country with GDDG’s explicit support.

“The Alliance of Patriots is Georgia’s darkest and most pro-Russian force; their leaders are now holding talks in Moscow; they are stirring anti-western and anti-Turkish sentiments. This is the [true] face of the Georgian Dream; same as the Alliance of Patriots,” he added.

Lawmakers from the Alliance of Patriots party – Giorgi Lomia and Ada Marshania – were on a visit to Moscow last week. On November 22, MP Lomia addressed the inter-parliamentary conference organized by the Committee for CIS Affairs and Eurasian Integration of the State Duma (lower legislative chamber).

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

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