2011 Georgian protests

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2011 Georgian protests
Date21–26 May 2011
Location
GoalsResignation of President Mikheil Saakashvili, political reforms
MethodsDemonstrations, civil disobedience
StatusInconclusive
Casualties

The 2011 Georgian protests were a series of anti-government protests in Georgia against President Mikheil Saakashvili.

Events[edit]

The protests began on 21 May 2011 when over 10,000 Georgians attended a demonstration in Tbilisi demanding Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili's resignation. In the southwestern city of Batumi some demonstrations also occurred with some protesters attempting to break into television building.[3] Nino Burjanadze, an ex-parliamentary speaker and leader of the Democratic Movement-United Georgia party, has been a lead figure in the demonstrations.[4] The protesters in Batumi briefly clashed with police.[5]

Burjanadze stated that one of the aims of the protesters was to prevent a parade commemorating Independence Day on 26 May 1918 from taking place in Freedom Square in Tbilisi.[6] On 26 May at about 00:15, Georgian police began to suppress the protests with tear gas and rubber bullets, and the protests soon ended. Burjanadze apparently fled in a motorcade which ran over one protester and one policeman (killing them both; two more bodies later showed up as well, apparently electrocuted by a loose wire).[1]

On the 28 May, a separate demonstration was held with thousands of participants, protesting against violence both by the protesters and by the police.[1]

Arrests[edit]

In early June, Georgian authorities arrested and charged Badri Bitsadze, husband of former parliament speaker Nino Burdzhanadze, with attempting to orchestrate the government takeover using paramilitary groups during the violent anti-government protests.[7] There have been 105 other arrests of protesters.[2]

Reactions[edit]

Mikheil Saakashvilli stated that he believed the protestors were backed by Russia and had provoked the violence.[2] Likewise John R. Bass, the American ambassador to Georgia, stated that "here were clearly a number of people included in that protest who were not interested in peacefully protesting, but were looking to spark a violent confrontation."[2] The Georgian Interior Ministry released video recordings that it claims show opposition members discussing how to instigate clashes with police[2][8] The Economist, meanwhile, spoke of an attempt by Burjanadze to "claw her way back to power".[1]

Irakli Alasania (an opposition leader who disassociated himself from the protests early on) opined that the protests were doomed to failure because:

The era when politicians can just call people on the streets is over. Georgia is building a new political culture. People want to determine Georgia’s future through elections.[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Protests in Georgia:On Rustaveli Avenue". The Economist. 2 June 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e Ellen Barry (28 May 2011). "Bodies Found Near Site of Protests in Georgia". New York Times. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
  3. ^ Reuters; Georgian protests, TV building attacked
  4. ^ Civil.Ge; Protesters March to Public Broadcaster
  5. ^ Civil.Ge; Police Briefly Clash with Protesters in Batumi
  6. ^ "Opposition rally aims to prevent Georgia independence parade". RT. 25 May 2011. Retrieved 17 July 2011.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-02.
  8. ^ Georgian Interior Ministry, Georgian Interior Ministry