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Monday, 23 April 2018


Civil disobedience inevitable

10.11.2009  |  14:47

4512.jpegAutumn slack doesn't seem to last long with the opposition declaring a new wave of rallies. NGOs have raised an ultimatum to the president of Georgia. Experts are at their wits' end making any forecasts. Two scenarios are possible: either the opposition raises the white flag eventually or a new turn of confrontation is there to start.

Last weekend the Georgian opposition was celebrating the anniversary of the opposition rally dispersion. Two years ago, on November 7 the riot police attacked the protesters with batons and tear gas. Estimated 4000-8000 took part in November 7 protest actions.


The protesters met at the building of the Georgian Public Broadcaster (state TV) and went on to the Parliament to present a resolution containing various demands to the authorities including liberation of political prisoners.

The action was organized by November 7 Movement, Georgian Academy, Defend Georgia, Protect Life, Ex Political Prisoners for Human Rights, Trade Union of Lawyers and Coalition for Our Rights" plus non-parliamentary opposition.

Even a casual observer could see how disunited the Georgian opposition was. Seven months after the active phase of confrontation with the authorities it had failed to nominate a unique leader to the memorable day. Many parties were indecisive about whether it was worth joining the November 7 rallies or not for weeks. 

As Kommersant newspaper reports not even all opposition figures attended the presentation of the movie on "crimes of the Saakashvili regime" at Radisson hotel. Alliance for Georgia representatives headed by ex UN Envoy Irakli Alasania were absent too. Just like the Laborists who ignored the event. 

The party's secretary general Iosif Shatberashvili explained the Labor party had more important things to do. "The chairman of our party is in the USA at the moment trying to persuade representatives of the Obama administration to revoke Kosovo's recognition", - he stated. - If they agree Mr. Natelasvili will go straight to Moscow to reason the Russian leadership into reciprocal cancellation of Abkhazia's and South Ossetia's recognition".

Nevertheless the opposition keeps talking about a stormy autumn to come. The opposition plans to raise a new protest wave that must not subside till Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili resigns. It was stated by Levan Gachechiladze, an opposition leader at an event associated with the November 7 2007, GHN reports.

Democratic Movement - United Georgia party leader Nino Burdzhanadze said she would not barter away democratic principles even for the sake of stability in the country.

The Georgian opposition is getting ready for the third peaceful round of struggle for Saakashvili's resignation, - Gubaz Sanikidze, National Forum party leader, a historian, a scholar, said in his interview with Kviris Palitra newspaper .

Non-governmental organizations have come forward with an ultimatum to the president of Georgia urging him to fulfill the demands stipulated in the resolution adopted at the November 7 rally.

As Nana Kakabadze chairing Ex Political Prisoners for Human Rights NGO stated at a press conference two resolution clauses must be complied with in the nearest future. This is liberation of political prisoners and freedom of mass media. If the demands are not met before November 23 the NGOs will organize another rally.

It will be remembered that the resolution the NGOs made public on November 7 contains three clauses. The third clause deals with creation of conditions for free and fair elections.

But many experts believe that the opposition has completely lost this round of struggle and is showing its own weakness thinking there is no protest spirit in the society. David Avalishvili, a politologist, told Kommersant newspaper: "The people are tired of senseless actions that only make the ruling regime stronger against the background of impotent opposition whose leaders refuse to understand that it's no good taking masses of people onto the streets, promising "quick victory" and constantly deceiving their expectations. People realized the current opposition had neither an alternative project, nor strength or means to achieve the main goal.

But there are other opinions since it was initially clear that the domestic struggle had several stages. The way out of the domestic crisis in the country with acute economic problems and a cunning PR pro though not an absolutely even-tempered leader at the top of it is possible only after the change of power. This is what Ramaz Sakvarelidze, a Georgian politologist, said in reply to GeorgiaTimes correspondent's question about the current state of the opposition and its capacity to carry their point.

- Many people foretold the protest wave would not rise again after springtime rallies in Georgia. But several thousand people went out on November 7. So it's difficult to forecast future developments. If the opposition suggests a specific concept it will be able to raise the people.

The protest spirit is great, but it's not clear how the set goal can be achieved. The resumption of protests as before is unreal due to the adoption of new laws. Apparently the opposition will find new methods.


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