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Opposition Leaders Vow to Fight to the End
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 10 Apr.'09 / 17:29

Opposition leaders told protesters outside the parliament after announcing their action plan that they would not step back and would continue their drive unless President Saakashvili resigns.

“I want to ask you to be as calm and disciplined as we were yesterday,” Levan Gachechiladze, a former presidential candidate, told the rally. “If he [Mikheil Saakashvili] does not hear our demands, our rallies will cover not only entire Tbilisi but also entire Georgia. It is most important to destroy a daily schedule of Mikheil Saakashvili – this is important and not anarchy.”

“We should defeat Saakashvili by being well-organized,” Irakli Melashvili of the National Forum party said. “Saakashvili should understand that there is no place for him in this city. If he does not accept the decision, which is a demonstration of the Georgian people’s will, the similar process [of rallies and picketing] will cover the entire country. Today the opposition is more firm than it was two years ago. We are not going to step back. We call on you to be very organized and cautious not to yield to provocations.”  

“We will do our utmost through legal means to achieve the change of the present authorities. But we need your support. Saakashvili should not see that people are tired or weakened. Now, everything is up to you,” Eka Beselia of the Movement for United Georgia told the protesters.

When Nino Burjanadze, a former parliamentary chairperson and now leader of opposition Democratic Movement-United Georgia party, took the stage for a speech, some boos were again heard from the crowed, but not of the same scale as it was on April 9. However, her remarks that she was ready to debate with President Saakashvili in live, triggered protesters applauds.

“I will do my best together with you to make this country look like a country. I am sure that we will manage to unite, as we did it before when the country was facing problems. I have numerously told to President Saakashvili, whom you gave a huge mandate that he had a chance and he lost this chance and we will never forgive it to him. He should bear responsibility before the Georgian people, as well as others, including me. But today we should correct our mistakes and I can say one thing – if he is brave enough, he should come, sit beside me in live televised [debates] and I am ready to speak with him in your presence. I am ready to talk with him about how many times I have warned him that you will not tolerate the insult, that you are people, who can endure hunger and absence of electricity, but who cannot tolerate insulting your dignity. And it was confirmed in Georgia today. Be sure that today I am much happier by standing with you than I was in any other time. I will fight to the end together with you,” Burjanadze told protesters.

Tina Khidasheli of the Republic Party, which is part of Alliance for Georgia, told the rally: “Today we are telling Misha: we want to see the deeds, which will make this dialogue [offered by the President] possible. We want to see here Shalva Ramishvili, who is his personal prisoner; we want to see the cases related to November events [of 2007 when riot police broke up demonstrations and raided Imedi TV] investigated. We want to see those people, who almost killed Koba Davitashvili to be held responsible… Only afterwards we will talk to him about how he should go peacefully. The only thing that will make Mikheil Saakashvili resign will be your endurance and firmness.”

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