miércoles, 3 de junio de 2009

Tens of thousands of people on the stadium demand resignation of Georgian president

The Opposition leaders' board next to the Parliament, the 26th of May, 2009. Photo by "Caucasian Knot"

The central stadium of Tbilisi, Georgian capital, with the 80,000 capacity is overcrowded. Tens of thousands of opposition representatives and their supporters, including oppositionists from West Georgia headed by Giya Gachechiladze, well-known singer and brother of the opposition leader Levan Gachechiladze, have gathered in order to mark Georgian Independence Day and demand resignation of Michail Saakashvili, Georgian president.

The "Caucasian Knot" correspondent reports that the event is broadcast live in Tbilisi and across regions by the TV channel "Maestro". According to different sources, the opposition event is attended by 65,000 to 100,000 people, including opposition leaders.

Malkhaz Varshanidze, documentary films director, who is at the stadium now has told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent that there are no vacant seats at the stadium, that people already stand on the race tracks and on the pitch, and more and more people arrive.

Irakli Alasaniya, leader of the "Alliance for Georgia", thinks it is possible that, after today's event, opposition parties may expand their activity along three lines. One part will continue street actions for maintaining the feelings of protest among the community, another part will embark on the path of negotiations while continuing to demand that the authorities should comply with the six-item memorandum. The third part will expand its activities abroad in order to involve the western community into a more active participation in the internal processes of Georgia.

Levan Dachicheladze, one of the opposition leaders, states that the opposition is not a political alliance alone. If opposition parties apply different tactics for attaining their goal, i.e. resignation of Georgian president Michail Saakashvili and appointment of early presidential election, this may expand the range of protests.

The Georgian authorities have decided not to interfere with oppositionists and cancelled the traditional Independence Day military parade along Rustaveli Avenue which the opposition promised to frustrate.

Sources at the Georgian MFA note that during Independence Day a gala concert is arranged at the Opera and Ballet Theatre at 18.00, attended by ambassadors, members of the government and artists, while a traditional reception is planned at 20.00 in the hotel "Sheraton Metekhi Palace".

See earlier reports: "Georgian Prosecutor's Office investigates police actions at detaining persons accused of a riot in Mukhrovani," "Director general of the TV company "Maestro" claims the explosion in Tbilisi may have been connected with the film about Ghirgvliany," "Oppositionists are on march from Batumi to Tbilisi."

Author: Tamaz Imnaishvili; Source: CK correspondent.
Caucasian Knot, may 26 2009, 20:00