Hundreds of Thousands Rally in Georgia Calling for President to Step Down
The president resists demands to leave office as some wonder if revolution is in the air.
Georgias opposition are taking to the streets of the capital Tbilisi for a mass anti-government protest. Tens of thousands of people have come out to demand President Saakashvili step down (6:36):
This is a country of political culture where the threshold of violence is traditionally pretty low. For Saakashvili this is testing time. Fred Weir from the Christian Science Monitor provided his comments live to RT (3:21):
Ten times as many people, including a wide array of political forces, are protesting today against Saakashvili as there were against the USSR in tragic 1989, remind political experts Kirill Bessonov and Peter Lavelle (4:23):
Georgias opposition are taking to the streets of the capital Tbilisi for a mass anti-government protest. Tens of thousands of people have come out to demand President Saakashvili step down (5:09):
At times, the demonstrations echoed the 2003 “Rose Revolution” protest movement that toppled the former regime of Eduard Shevardnadze and ushered Mr. Saakashvili into power. Opposition leaders are now demanding that Saakashvili resign by Friday.
“This is not a revolution. It is another demonstration of the Georgian people’s peaceful will to seek democracy,” says Salome Zourabichvili, former foreign minister and leader of the Georgia’s Way party.
Yet the line between revolution and massive public protest can be murky. Ms. Zourabichvili stated earlier that the opposition wouldn’t hold talks with Saakashvili until he resigned.
Saakashvili, who was reelected last year, has made no indications that he is planning to leave office before his term ends in 2013. The pro-Western leader issued a statement, however, that called for unity. “We should stick together despite different opinions. We must continue to develop as a democratic country.”
The protest was held on the 20th anniversary of the April 9 massacre, during which Soviet forces killed 20 Georgians who had demonstrated against the USSR’s control of the country. Georgia gained independence two years later. >>>