People’s Assembly, an opposition movement backed by ex-parliamentary speaker Nino Burjanadze, will launch “a decisive struggle” against President Saakashvili on May 21, which definitely “will be accomplished with success,” Burjanadze said on Thursday, two days before the launch of street protest rallies.
Earlier this month the People’s Assembly announced that its activists would start gathering at three separate locations in Tbilisi on May 21 – at Tbilisi State Concert Hall (Philharmonic Hall); in Avlabari district and Rose Square – and then march in direction of the Freedom Square where a protest rally would be held at 3pm on that day. A simultaneous protest rally is planned in Batumi, Adjara Autonomous Republic.
“Decisive struggle will start on May 21 and I am sure… this struggle will be accomplished with success,” Burjanadze, leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia (DMUG), told Tbilisi-based Maestro TV on May 19.
“We are not going to make endless speeches [at the planned rally],” she said. “We’ll make several appeals, including in address to the international community, police forces and army… I am absolutely sure that absolute majority of them [in police forces and in the army] will not fulfill illegal orders and will not confront their own people.”
Burjanadze said that “so many people will be gathered” on May 21 that it would be impossible for any riot police unit “to confront it.” She said that activists of People’s Assembly were facing harassment from the authorities, especially in the regions. The People’s Assembly said that it faces problems with transportation of its activists to Tbilisi as many drivers of minibuses were pressured not to move in direction of Tbilisi on May 21.
People’s Assembly was established last year and serves as kind of an umbrella organization for various opposition groups and individuals. Although initially some opposition parties were willing to affiliate themselves with the movement, Nino Burjanadze’s Democratic Movement-United Georgia is actually the only political party currently backing the movement. Another is a small party established by Temur Shashiashvili, who was the governor of Imereti region during Eduard Shevardnadze’s presidency.