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April lessons2010-04-09 22:17
Today, the Georgians are celebrating two important dates: they commemorate those who died during the break-up of the first anti-governmental meeting in 1989. Today, Tbilisi is also celebrating the Independence Restoration Day. Two years after the sad April 1989 events, first President of Georgia Zviad Gamsakhurdia announced the restoration of Georgia's independence basing on the Act of Proclaiming Independence of the First Republic of Georgia on May 26, 1918. Meanwhile, the population of this sunny country is still demanding freedom, independence, peace and wealth as it did 21 years ago... And the opposition is still threatening with another revolution.
20 years ago, the 9th of April became a crucial day not only for Georgia but for the whole of the Soviet system. The multi-thousand peaceful meeting of the national movement representatives held on Rustaveli Avenue was broken up by the Soviet Army servicemen.
The break-up of the peaceful meeting in Tbilisi drew a wide respond all over the world, having turned into a symbol of the growing national movement in the republics of the Soviet Union...
... It is April 9, 1989. First meetings are held in Georgia. Several thousand young men and women have spent the whole night on the central square. There came first demands of Georgia's withdrawal from the USSR. Seized by the growing national feeling, the teachers brought their pupils and the professors brought their students to the square. Soviet intelligentsia either believed in Reconstruction ("Perestroyka"), or really decided to check whether Georgia is among the select.
In the morning of April 8, the protesters who had gathered near the government house were silently warned by the armor moving along the city. However, the result turned to be the opposite. In the morning, the protesters were joined by lots of people, their total amount having reached 10 thousand people. At 4 o'clock in the morning on April 9, the troops attacked the people using heavy equipment. The troopers also used pioneer spades and the Cheremukha tear gas. 20 people died, 14 women being among them.
To investigate these events, there was established the first Parliamentary Commission in the history of the USSR headed by Sobchak. The conclusions made by the commission were far from pleasant: the commission practically accused the USSR government of the people's death.
Years later, the human right defenders supposed that the victims could have been avoided if the people had followed the Patriarch's call to pray. However, the Patriarch's words were never heard, and there was bloodshed.
According to the tradition, on this day, the Tbilisians strew the staircase leading to the parliament building with tulips to in commemoration of those who died on 9 April 1989.
April 9 has been a significant date for the Georgian opposition for two years already. Last year, the opposition held a large-scale protest action on this day.
This year, the oppositionists also threatened with the protests actions. Today's meetings rather resemble a solemn ceremony.
For instance, the representatives of the National Movement, politicians, families and relatives of the dead people, as well as the common citizens have gathered near the memorial to those who died on April 9.
A memorial service was served in Kashvestskaya Church opposite the Parliament.