Opposition Launches Protests
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 9 Apr.'09 / 15:41

Tens of thousands of people are gathered outside the Parliament as the opposition has launched the campaign to force President Saakashvili to resign.

Opposition leaders said over 100,000 people were gathered; but number of people gathered outside the Parliament is lower at about 3:30pm.

Levan Gachechiladze, a former opposition presidential candidate, was the first to address protesters at the rally. “We came here to say: resign; resign,” he told the rally. “He [President Saakashvili] is fighting against the Georgian church, the Georgian values, he partitioned Georgia and now we should stand here unless he goes from the politics.”

Irakli Alasania, the leader of opposition Alliance for Georgia, told the protesters: “We have gathered today with one goal; to demonstrate our unity to the country’s leadership and to the world; standing together is a precondition for decisive change that we all should achieve.”
“He [Saakashvili] has promised to unite Georgia, but today the only unity that we have is here – our unity around the goal to change the authorities peacefully not through violence…  The change which is inevitable will be possible through our unity… We should all tell the authorities: its enough, go and let’s hold elections.”

When a former parliamentary chairperson and now leader of opposition party, Nino Burjanadze, took the stage for a speech, an angry reaction followed from the protesters.

“I understand those who are upset about me,” she told protesters in response. “I understand them who were expecting me to protect people on November 7 [2007 when she was Saakashvili’s ally and when the riot police broke up anti-government rallies] and now I apologize for failing to protect you.”

“We came here to say to the President: Resign; and he will resign because we are standing united,” she continued. “I promise that together with you, I will fight to the end to achieve this goal… Saakashvili has failed to understand that the President which has lost the war and even has not apologized for that should resign.”

Eka Beselia of the Movement for United Georgia – party founded by the former defense minister, Irakli Okruashvili, told the protesters: “Saakashvili should resign and there will no compromise about it.”

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