Monday, June 15, 2009

Arrests and extreme forms of protest in Georgia: situation beginning to get out of hand

Аресты и крайние формы протеста в Грузии: ситуация начинает выходить из-под контроля

Opposition protesters are demonstrating before the building of the Georgian Parliament. The decision to move the protests to Rustaveli Avenue was made by leaders of the opposition after their supporters were forced to flee from the main office of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Tbilisi.

Of those protesters, as deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia, Eka Zguladze, stated, 39 were arrested by the police. Zguladze remarked that the police did not intend on resorting to force, but that police recognized many faces of those that had participated in the attack on deputies near the Parliament building on June 12. Attempts to arrest them, however, were met by resistance.

Meanwhile, several memberes of the opposition movement have begun extreme forms of protest. According to an IA Regnum correspondent, one of the protesters demonstrating before Parliament is Abkhazian refugee Ramaz Aroniya, who has sewn his mouth and eyes shut. He is trying to draw attention to the authorities' unwillingness to see what they have done to Georgia, and to condemn law enforcement for suppression of freedom of speech. One Opposition supporter has promised to sew his ears shut, should his protests go unheard by Mikheil Saakashvili.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Saakashvili to govern Georgia from Adjara

Саакашвили намерен править Грузией из Аджарии

Due to ongoing opposition protests, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has been forced to relocate his residence. Currently, the the President of Georgia is 400 kilometers west of Tbilisi in Adjara. Saakashvili's residence in Tbilisi has been surrounded by opposition protesters.

Since April 9, the Georgian opposition has been conducting protests, calling for the resignation of the president. Recently, there was a meeting between Saakashvili and and one of the opposition leaders, Levan Gachechiladze. However, according to the opposition, the meeting did not lead to any favorable developments.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Opposition activists assault Georgian Speaker of Parliament with sticks and stones

Оппозиционеры атаковали машину спикера парламента Грузии с камнями и палками

Radical opposition activists today assaulted a car in which Georgian Speaker of Parliament David Bakradze was riding. Following the end of the day's parliamentary session, Bakradze left the building and found dozens of opposition activists surrounding his car. According to an IA Regnum correspondent, they began throwing sticks and stones at the speaker's car. Many were shouting "Shame," in a sign of protest against the first session of parliament held since the parliamentary recess began two months ago. Parliament security guards intervened and were able to secure a way out for the speaker, however, they themselves suffered many blows.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Mass arrests of opposition activists underway in Georgia

В Грузии идут массовые аресты оппозиционных активистов

Today, eleven opposition activists were arrested in Georgia, including ten members of ex-Speaker of Parliament, Nino Burjanadze's party "Democratic Movement--United Georgia", and also one member of the Republican party. They have all been accused of the illegal purchase and possession of weapons.

Responding to the news of the arrest of her supporters, Nino Burjanadze raised a loud cry of protest, saying that "this is a struggle between an authoritarian regime and political opponents." "The unfair and groundless arrests of persons will lead to sense of impunity in the country, and will most definitely be met by civil opposition. The signs are already here," said Burjanadze at a press conference in Tbilisi on June 11. According to Burjanadze, all responsibility lies with president Mikheil Saakashvili, minister of foreign affairs Vano Merabishvili, and other top officials.

The Republican party released a similar statement condemning the authorities' actions. Both parties have appealed to the international community, legal defense organizations, and representatives of the diplomatic corps with requests to monitor the ongoing situation.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Salome Zurabishvili: The only thing that is saving Georgia from destruction is this wave of protests

Грузию спасает от разрушения только волна оппозиционного протеста: Саломе Зурабишвили

"If the wave of protests in Georgia cease, then the country will be threatened by a new wave of destruction and repression," stated leader of the opposition party "Georgia's Way," ex-head of the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Salome Zurabishvili at a rally in Tbilisi. In her words, "we stand here in order to save our army from destruction."

As for dialogue with the government, in Zurabishvili's opinion, the authorities' talk about the necessity for dialogue is just "for show." She revealed that, during a forthcoming visit to Georgia by representatives from Western countries [the visit of EU Special Representative Peter Semneby], the opposition intends to show that the Georgian public is asking for dialogue, but that it is the authorities who are not willing to engage in dialogue, because they do not want to admit that the country is in crisis.

The Georgian opposition has been holding demonstrations since April 9. They are demanding that Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili resign.

Two activists from Nino Burjanadze's party missing

В Грузии пропали двое представителей партии Нино Бурджанадзе

Two youth activists, Darejan Gujejiani and Tamara Naveriani, from a youth organization sponsored by the "Democratic Movement--A Unified Georgia" party headed by ex-Speaker of Parliament Nino Burjanadze have gone missing in Georgia. Today at a gathering of opposition party members, Marina Salukvadze addressed Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Eka Zguladze, saying "we demand that measures be taken quickly to search for these young women." According to Salukvadze, at around 3pm, a black jeep began to pursue Gujejiani and Naveriani. The girls had just enough time to phone for help.