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Not a day without a protest in Georgia2009-03-17 14:10
Tbilisi has a creative approach to street protest actions. On Friday, March 13 the concert organized by the opposition ended with a police car spectacularly in flames. On Sunday the central city streets were filled with protest slogans "Misha Go Away!" On Monday it was Okruashvili's supporters to organize a spectacle.
Georgians follow the opposition leaders with characteristic Caucasian hot temper. It looks like nobody is afraid that on April 9 a dramatic slaughter that marked November 7 2007 can be repeated. Mikheil Saakashvili was quite clear saying he would not resign voluntarily. He also confirmed his readiness to suppress any actions against "legitimately elected authorities" in a violent way. Here his actions agree with his words all right. In early March there already were first dispersions of protest meetings.
Last weekend the actions were held under close attention of the police but without their direct involvement.
The authorities were not scared by the clownery organized by Georgy Gachechiladze, a pop singer and a brother of Levan Gachechiladze (former presidential candidate from the United Opposition), in Rike square. For several days he has been broadcasting a telethon from the prison cell installed in the studio as a symbol of lack of freedom in Georgia. This is the cell from which he appeared to say to Saakashvili once again: "Go away and take it away with you". Spectators - a few thousand on the whole - brought garbage that according to the idea of the action organizers Saakashvili was supposed to take away with him. All this trash was then brought by the protestors to the building of Parliament.
When the action was over and the minions of the law could take a breath of relief there came an explosion in Tbilisi. A police car flared up. It was parked near the office of Nino Burdzhanadze's "Democratic movement - United Georgia" youth division and close to the building of the Guard. The next day Burdzhanadze ventured a guess that the incident had been an act of provocation against her party. The Interior Ministry on the contrary put all the responsibility for the explosion on the concert participants. According to the Interior Ministry one of the young fellows allegedly threw a grenade inside the car on his way back from the action.
The rally at Rustaveli monument on Sunday, March 15 also ended in a procession towards the building of Parliament. 12 non-governmental organizations were initiators of "Misha Go Away" action. They disseminated a special address to the leaders calling on Saakashvili to step down.
At the rally a lot was said about confrontation between public forces in the country to end in a peaceful way only.