Tens of thousands of people went onto the streets of Tbilisi and other towns and cities throughout Georgia to form a live human chain. Under the banner “Stop Russia,” the event is meant to symbolize the unity of the Georgian people in the face of continued Russian occupation.
A massive media campaign preceded the event calling on people to participate. President Saakashvili in a late night televised address on August 31 said unity was the most important thing in the face of Russian aggression and called on people to take part in the live chain. Ilia II, the Patriarch of the Georgian Orthodox Church, blessed the event in his Sunday sermon.
“Our unity is the basis of Georgia’s strength, statehood, future and peaceful restoration of our territorial integrity,” Saakashvili said on August 31. “Tomorrow the entire world will look at Tbilisi and other cities of Georgia to see how united we are.”
Saakashvili and other senior officials joined the event on Freedom Square in Tbilisi.
Georgia’s national anthem was played over loudspeakers on Freedom Square, which was then followed by the EU anthem, Beethoven’s Ode to Joy.
The event coincides with an emergency meeting of EU leaders in Brussels to discuss the Georgia-Russia conflict.