AriRusila's Conflicts

On Friday 7th I was watching news from Georgia’s capital Tbilisi where some 10.000 demonstrators were marching against current political leadership and demanding early presidential and parliamentary elections. They were gathering also on the national parliament and the presidential residence to commemorate the events of last year, when a similar rally was violently dispersed by police.

Demonstrators and supporters of Georgian opposition parties wanted an investigation into the August war in South Ossetia, freedom of speech and press, and the release of political prisoners. They also want the former independent television station – Imedi TV – to be returned to its rightful owners, the family of Badri Patarkatsishvili who died in London in February this year.

It has went a year now on last big similar protest in Tbilisi. Then the opposition was demanding Mikhail Saakashvili’s resignation, and an immediate parliamentary election. On the fifth day of demonstrations, when about 60,000 people were rallying in the capital, the police started dispersing the crowd using sound guns, tear gas and water cannons against protesters. Hundreds of protesters were injured in the clashes.

Western media has described President Saakashvili as an reliable ally, modern democrat and popular leader. The events on 7th Aug. 2008 showed an authoritarian gambler side of him. There was some doubts about fairness with last elections so maybe demonstrators have a case. Let’s monitor how now started rallies are continuing – are they coming bigger, what is the response of police. Maybe the West sould start to look an new ally now, before it is too late.

More my views one may find from my BalkanBlog.

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