Few thousand people gathered at a protest rally in downtown Tbilisi on January 31, organized by Alliance of Patriots of Georgia party, demanding from the authorities to “punish” previously ruling and now opposition United National Movement (UNM) party.
Calling on the authorities to “restore justice” and investigate wrongdoings committed under the previous government, protesters were criticizing the authorities for being “feeble” and for failure to deliver on its promise of “restoration of justice”. The Vazagashvili case was frequently mentioned at the rally, criticizing the authorities for a failure to investigate death of two young men in a police operation in 2006. Father of one of the killed men in that operation, Yuri Vazagashvili, who was campaigning for punishment of police officers involved in that operation, was killed in an explosion at the grave of his son on January 20.
Alliance of Patriots, which was in favor of a delay in signing of free trade treaty with the EU and calls Georgia’s NATO aspiration “fruitless”, scored the fourth best result in last year’s local elections by garnering just under 5% of votes.
“Our demand is an immediate launch restoration of justice; zero tolerance towards executioners from [the United] National Movement,” said Irma Inashvili, one of the leaders of Alliance of Patriots, who was running for Tbilisi mayor’s office in last year’s local elections, garnering over 5% of votes. “We are telling not only to the Georgian government, but to the West – the Europe and the United States – this is the demand of the Georgian people, not cohabitation [with UNM].”
“We are also demanding early parliamentary elections,” said chairman of the Alliance of Patriots, Davit Tarkhan-Mouravi.
Holding a huge banner reading “punish criminals”, demonstrators marched on the Rustaveli Avenue towards the parliament building before they dispersed peacefully.