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Alliance for Georgia Treading Cautiously as Planned Rallies Loom
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 6 Apr.'09 / 14:11

Irakli Alasania, the leader of opposition Alliance for Georgia, said he hoped the street protest rallies planned from April 9 would help to launch “a dialogue with the authorities that would lead to peaceful power transition.”

He said in an interview with the Georgian weekly Kviris Palitra, published on April 6, that the authorities’ proposals put forth last week “are not sincere and adequate.”

“The authorities proposal to negotiate on how to tackle global crisis and unemployment a week before the planned rallies, further increases the public mistrust towards the authorities,” Alasania said. The ruling party has also offered the opposition to engage in a dialogue on democratic reforms and national security issues.

“It is cynical when the minister for probation and penitentiary system is appointed as a negotiator with the opposition. So we have not perceived those proposals seriously. But at the same time I want to say that the dialogue is the only option for finding a solution,” Alasania added.

While campaigning in the provincial regions in lead up to the April 9 rally alongside with other opposition leaders planning the street rallies, politicians from Alliance for Georgia seem to be anyway treading cautiously about the matter, in particular about the opposition’s action plan.

“We consider April 9 as a very important date. We believe that everyone who wants development of the country should join this rally,” Davit Usupashvili, the leader of Republican Party, part of the Alliance, said in the Rustavi 2 TV’s political talk show, Position, on April 3.

“Our position is that the rally should be peaceful and it should be result-oriented… We should achieve a concrete result from these rallies and on this matter we are holding consultations with our partners,” he continued.

“Will inform the public about the level of our participation when a concrete scheme is clarified about April 9 and further scenario of development,” Usupashvili added.

Pikria Chikhradze of the New Rights Party – part of the Alliance, was more straightforward and told the Georgian daily Rezonansi in an interview published on April 4 that she thought it was “a mistake” when the opposition parties portrayed April 9 rally as “an apocalyptic” and ultimately decisive event.

She said April 9 should have been only “an important part of this struggle” and “not a date when we all gather [at the rally] and do not disperse.”

“Our vision was different; we have been proposing different plan to the group organizing the April 9 rally and we still continue proposing it. Irakli Alasania is trying to make the process more reasonable and more result-oriented for the society,” the Rezonansi quoted Chikhradze. “When we were telling them not to make April 9 an apocalyptic, we also meant that by doing so, whether we wanted it or not, we were all becoming hostages of this date.”

She said that in the past there had been cases when during the large protest rallies organizers were deadlocked about the future steps, “as they did not know what concrete steps to take at the concrete time.” Such a scenario, Chikhradze continued, triggers organizers to take spontaneous decisions “to make the situation sharper” in order to not to lose the rally’s momentum.

“And that is when you become a hostage of you own actions… Now we are all the hostages of April 9,” she said and added that the Alliance was not part of the organizing committee because of that reason as there was no concrete action plan yet. She, however, also said that the Alliance was anyway taking its share of responsibility about the developments.

Meanwhile, Salome Zourabichvili, leader of Georgia’s Party, which is part of the April 9 rally organizing committee, said the planned rallies would be about “patience and endurance.”

“We should stand there as long as required, until Saakashvili resigns… This will be a peaceful demonstration of our will and do not listen if someone calls for storming [the governmental or parliament] building; one who calls for this type of action will be a provoker,” told RFE/RL Georgian service on April 6.

She also said that those, who may call for dispersal of the rally for some reasons, would be considered as collaborators with the authorities.

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