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Protest Leaders Say Rally to Remain at GPB
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 22 May.'11 / 19:50

Protesters outside the public broadcaster on the Kostava Street, May 22. Photo: Guram Muradov/Civil.ge

The current venue of the protest outside the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) on the Kostava Street will remain a focal point of the ongoing rally for at least one more day, protesters were told after the leaders from Georgian Party and People’s Assembly held talks on further tactic.

Nino Burjanadze, ex-parliamentary speaker and key figure behind the ongoing rally, said at the number of protesters, which is less than on May 21, “is not enough” and it is necessary to “maximally mobilize the forces” to which the Georgian Party would also contribute.

In separate remarks also on May 22 she said that that large number of people was needed in order to prevent a bloodshed as the authorities, she said, would not dare to take any actions against the protesters in case of large-scale rally. 

“This [number] of people is enough for acting… But more people is needed to prevent bloodshed and to prevent any kind of serious violence,” she said.

Burjanadze also said that decisive actions would be undertaken as soon as “we are ready”.

“If we are ready tomorrow we will act tomorrow… If we are ready by May 25, we will act on May 25, but it won’t be a long process; we will act in the nearest few days,” Burjanadze said.

The opposition Georgian Party announced on Sunday that the May 25 would become “the Day of Rage of the Georgian people”, which would turn into “the last day of the Saakashvili’s regime.”

She also said that although the Georgian Party joined the ongoing rally, the People’s Assembly was distancing itself from the protest rally, which the Georgian Party held outside the U.S. embassy in Tbilisi on May 16.

Burjanadze said that it was also decided that Tbilisi-based Maestro TV would “start broadcasting from here” – the protest venue. She said that it would be like a shield for protesters as breaking up of the rally by the authorities would amount to breaking into the TV station, something similar to what had happened in 2007 with Imedi TV.

It was not immediately clear what exactly “broadcasting from the protest venue” would involve, but as Giorgi Gachechiladze, a singer, who once already hosted a so called “protest TV” during the street protests in 2009, told the rally on May 22 that he was considering to launch a TV show on Maestro, which would be made live from the protest venue.

Decision about Maestro TV’s direct involvement in the ongoing protest comes after the Georgian Party announced about its decision to join the rally earlier on Sunday.

Giorgi Gachechiladze, who is the brother of the Georgian Party’s co-founder Levan Gachechiladze, became owner of Maestro TV’s 50% in March, 2011. A month later he sold his 25% to his friend Maka Asatiani, who is a wife of a wealthy Georgian businessman Kote Gogelia; the latter is also affiliated with the Georgian Party. A company founded by Erosi Kitsmarishvili, a political secretary of the Georgian Party, took over the Maestro TV’s management rights in November, 2009.

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