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Public Broadcaster in Center of Second Day of Rally
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 26 Nov.'10 / 17:41

Few thousand protesters reconvened outside the Parliament on Friday afternoon for a second day of rally, launched on November 25.

Organizers of the November 25 Public Assembly had to reconvene the protest spontaneously after yielding to pressure from some of the most radical part of the rally participants, who were angered by the organizers’ decision to disperse the rally. The organizers were saying that the scale of the November 25 rally was not large enough for launching “decisive actions” for forcing President Saakashvili to resign; they, instead, offered to launch setting up of “committees” in the provinces to prepare for “civil disobedience campaign”.

After the protest was reconvened at about 2pm local time outside the Parliament, blocking the Rustaveli Avenue, part of the protesters decided to march towards the Georgian Public Broadcaster’s headquarters to protest against the way November 25 rally was covered in the broadcaster’s news program. Traffic on the Rustaveli Avenue was restored after the part of the protesters launch the march towards the public broadcaster.

Gia Chanturia, the general director of the public broadcaster, rejected the criticism saying that the broadcaster allotted enough time to covering the November 25 rally. He said that protest outside the public broadcaster and the protesters demands amounted to interference into the broadcaster’s editorial policy.

The November 25 rally outside the Parliament, the largest in last 18 months, was well down in news lineup of the national broadcaster’s primetime news programs, including on the public broadcaster; the latter, however, invited in its talk show one of the organizers of the rally, Eka Beselia, for a 20-minute talk about the Public Assembly.

Chanturia met with Beselia, while the protesters were gathered outside the public broadcaster and after the meeting Beselia told the participants of the rally that head of the public broadcaster assured her that the channel would invite the Public Assembly leaders in its talk shows; she then called on the rally participants to disperse. She also said that there were no immediate plans for holding rallies and that the organizers of the Public Assembly would meet to decide about exact plans.

Most of those opposition parties, which participated in the May local elections, refused to join the Public Assembly, except of Conservative Party and People’s Party.  Ex-parliamentary speaker Nino Burjanadze’s party is in forefront of the Public Assembly movement, which was also jointed by the National Forum party.

 

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