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Saakashvili’s “orange brigade”14.04.2009 | 09:12
The events that took place on Saturday night, when so-called "refuse collectors" in orange jackets smashed up the stage and tented press-centre belonging to the Georgian opposition, suggest that Mikheil Saakashvili's secret police are not resting on their laurels. Opposition leaders Nino Burjanadze and Levan Gachechiladze called the occurrence "an attack on a peaceful rally". According to them, "this incident proves that instead of fulfilling the people's demands, the authorities want to use force".
Yesterday, as has already been reported, unknown assailants in masks assaulted several activists belonging to various opposition movements. At the same time, the law enforcement agencies were frozen like the Buddhist three wise monkeys: "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil". The official spokesman for the Georgian Interior Ministry described this night-time attack as an ordinary skirmish between opposition activists and municipal workers.
"Citizens participating in the demonstration inflicted verbal and physical abuse" on a group of refuse collectors, whom they themselves had asked to come to the square, argue Tbilisi law-enforcement officers. According to the Interior Ministry, "neither police officers, nor officials from the Tbilisi mayor's office nor from any other state institution were involved in the incident". This creates an interesting story: are they trying to say that the refuse collectors wearing orange municipal jackets are not city workers, but Greenpeace volunteers who were outraged by the actions of the protestors not over their demands for the president to resign, but solely because they were littering their beloved city?
The Interior Ministry seemed to have forgotten to agree on its statement with the mayor, who in practice disavowed the Interior Ministry's statement. Commenting on the night-time incident, the Tbilisi mayor said that during the night workers from the city's municipal service came to the square, as they had agreed with the opposition supporters to remove litter from there. However, abuse was heaped upon them. And the street sweepers, being hot-tempered men, started flailing their fists in all directions. The city head was aggrieved for his "orange brigade", so he suggested that the Georgian opposition should remove litter from the square themselves, which is where the protest action is taking place.
This slight discrepancy suggests that Saakashvili's entourage might have devised a plan to provoke riots in Tbilisi, which would give them the opportunity to declare a state of emergency and arrest the opposition leaders, who will, quite typically, be accused of attempting a state coup. After all, Mikheil Nikolaevich has rich experience in punishing his former close allies.
In an interview with the Georgian publication "Kvela Siakhle" (All News), the former chairman of the Auditory Chamber, Sulkhan Molashvili, made quite serious allegations against Mikheil Saakashvili. At one time this politician was part of the president's "inner circle", and knew many secrets regarding his activities. He was convicted for this soon after the Rose Revolution and was only released from imprisonment in 2008. The official only became free thanks to the intervention of the Georgian Patriarch. Now he lives in Germany, fleeing further prosecution by Saakashvili's secret police.
In his interview, Sulkhan Molashvili gave a series of examples of financial irregularities committed by Saakashvili, but we are not interested now in these details, but those of his revelations which talked about the Georgian president as a master of political provocation.
According to Molashvili, the main tactic of Saakashvili and his entourage is to misinform the international community and to organize acts of provocation.
One of these acts of provocation could have been a terrorist act, which was planned for just before the presidential election of 5th January 2008. The terrorist act was meant to be organized for when Mikheil Saakashvili was next to his wife Sandra Roelofs. Mikheil Saakashvili was prepared to sacrifice his wife as long as he was guaranteed victory in the election - so stated Sulkhan Molashvili, and he stressed that he had received this information from a very reliable source. According to him, the current Georgian president had arrested about 17 parents of his son's classmates and children studying with him in different classes.
Sulkhan Molashvili is not ruling out further acts of provocation from the government, as he worked for many years alongside Mikheil Saakashvili, so knows what he is capable of. Therefore, the night-time attack outside the parliament building is a very worrying signal for the opposition. It seems that the Georgian president is starting to go on the offensive. In order to do this, he needs to provoke the demonstrators into acting inappropriately, and to disturb their plans. And this seems to be working.