Ultra-Conservative Movement Presents its Demands at April 30th Rally

On April 30, the “Here is Utsnobi” movement held a protest called “I’m Coming – Georgia First” at Republic Square, under the slogan “No to war! Peace to our country.” The organizers stressed that the demonstration was nonpartisan and aimed to voice the public’s worries about polarization, the “dangers of a revolutionary situation”, and “anti-state activities”. The rally was announced during the “Ucnobis Kidobani” TV show on the “Maestro” TV channel, known for its pro-government and anti-western rhetoric, in response to the March 7-9 demonstrations opposing the “Foreign Agents” laws.

Among the main messages voiced at the rally were the appeals to “hold the United National Movement accountable”, criticism of Georgia’s “sworn partners” who “interfere” with Georgia’s internal affairs and try to drag it into war, anti-free trade, anti-LGBT messages and expressions of gratitude to the GD government for preserving peace in Georgia. Themes broadly similar to Kremlin-style propaganda, such as the “unacceptability of ‘Parent #1 and Parent #2’ family arrangements”, featured prominently at the rally. The event ended with the organizers presenting their demands to the government on behalf of the rally participants.

Former “Georgian Dream” MP, actor Zaza Papuashvili, one of the organizers, addressed the gathered with a speech at the beginning of the rally. He said: “We come to put an end to this destructive aggression and alienation, to prevent the insidious plan directed towards our country, [and] to maintain balance so that no one can encroach on the sovereignty and freedom of our state,” adding: “We are coming to say no to all fascist, Bolshevist, sadistic aspirations and manifestations, to the confusion of the country, to the interference in the affairs of our country, to the unjustified resolutions and sanctions, to the humiliations and insults, to the constant upheavals and deceptions”.

Rusudan Sharadze, daughter of the former politician and MP, late Guram Sharadze, addressed the crowd at the Republic Square rally, stating that her father was killed for the same cause they are fighting for today. She stressed the importance of holding the “National Movement” accountable for her father’s death. Later on, this demand was highlighted as one of the key demands of the movement.

Vato Shakarishvili, the former member of Tbilisi City Assembly (Sakrebulo) from GD, the founder of the conservative portal “Georgia First,” referred to Georgia’s international partners as “sworn friends” and urged the crowd to consider what Georgia really needs. He questioned the value of pursuing unrealistic plans and goals of joining NATO, instead proposing that Georgia prioritize neutrality. He further stated that Georgia should not expect a positive response from the EU, as he believes that the international partners are punishing the country for protecting its peace.

The former Georgian Parliament Deputy Irakli Gogava also criticized the country’s international partners and called for a shift towards a “sovereign” economic policy. He repeated claims that a “Global War Party” wants Georgia to join a war without providing any specific information about the party.

At the end of the rally, the organizers of the demonstration presented a letter to the Government outlining their demands. Among the demands is a political and legal assessment of the “dictatorial regime” of the “National Movement,” along with the “enforcement of appropriate legal mechanisms”. Other demands include:

  • Enforcing the law equally for everyone, regardless of political, sexual or other orientation.
  • In the case of polarization and political crisis, the Georgian people must be given the opportunity to express their opinion through a plebiscite in order to avoid revolutions and destabilization;
  • The government should take care of implementing a sovereign economic policy, which will eliminate unemployment, low wages, and poverty;
  • The politicians of the European Union and other countries must respect the state sovereignty of Georgia and complete non-interference in internal public-political affairs. Relations between the parties should be based on respect and partnership;
  • Fundamental education should be introduced in schools, stopping the ideological processing of young people in educational institutions;
  • An effective state program should be implemented to correct the demographic situation;
  • LGBT propaganda should be banned by law.

Concluding the rally, Gia Gachechiladze thanked “those who are currently safeguarding peace”, despite the challenges they encounter. Gachechiladze urged those present at the rally, as well as those watching the rally on TV, “to take good look at these individuals and not dare to claim speaking on their behalf”.

Many of the rally’s attendees arrived from different regions of Georgia by minibuses, in an organized manner, and left using the same mode of transportation. Several dozen minibuses were spotted on-site. One participant informed the “TV Formula” company that their boss had organized the trip to Tbilisi, and they arrived with their colleagues.

Last week, Mamuka Mdinaradze, the chairman of the “Georgian Dream” faction, commenting on the planned rally, informed journalists that although organizers did not include the ruling party, “we have nothing against it” and “their display of patriotism merits support”.

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


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