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.