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Opposition Says Prepares for ‘New Wave’ of Protests
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 11 Apr.'09 / 18:25

The opposition leaders told supporters on Saturday that they planned “new wave” of protest rallies from April 13.

Scenario of the third day of rallies on Saturday is mainly similar to the one of April 10 – simultaneous demonstrations outside the Parliament, public TV and the presidential residence. Protesters also marched towards the Rustavi 2 TV.

Opposition has decided to take one-day break for April 12, when Orthodox Christians mark Palm Sunday. The decision was made after the opposition leaders met to consult on tactics earlier on Saturday.

“Rallies will resume from Monday with more drive,” Nino Burjanadze, a former parliamentary speaker and leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia (DMUG) said after the meeting. 

She also said that this “new wave from Monday will involve some changes in our tactic as well.” Burjanadze did not elaborate further details.

“Completely new stage will start from Monday; we will elaborate a serious plan of action and inform you,” Zviad Dzidziguri, co-leader of the Conservative Party, told protesters outside the Parliament.

After the meeting Irakli Alasania, leader of Alliance for Georgia, said the opposition was ready for talks with President Saakashvili in presence of non-political figures who enjoy public trust. He specified that the talks could not be held in presence of TV cameras. On April 10 some opposition leaders tried to allay protesters angry reaction on opposition’s readiness to meet Saakashvili by saying that the meeting would only be held in presence of TV cameras.

Davit Gamkrelidze, the leader of New Rights Party – part of Alliance for Georgia, told journalists after the meeting: “We deem Saakashvili’s resignation as the only way to overcome the crisis; but if the authorities have some other meaningful proposals for overcoming the crisis let them tell us; but we do not deem that direct election of Tbilisi mayor in 2010 will help to overcome the crisis.”

Number of protesters outside the Parliament on April 11 was less than on the previous day and far less than on the first day of the protests on April 9.

Ia Antadze, a political analyst and a regular contributor to RFE/RL Georgian service, says the scale of the protest falls short of required for forcing the authorities for a compromise.

“The current situation on the one hand makes the President complacent and on the other hand puts the opposition in a difficult situation,” Antadze told Civil.Ge on April 11. “Situation is complicated; the fact that there was no sign of violence these days does not automatically mean that process will proceed like this in following days.”

“The both sides realize that the situation is now kind of deadlocked,” she continued. “Some impulses of a dialogue have emerged. I think the situation will become more clarified in next couple of days.”

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