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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Protest update

Well, Misha did not step down and the opposition started a civil disobedience action which amounts to blocking the road and protesting in front of the public (state) TV station in addition to a simultaneous protest in front of Saakashvili's presidential home, where demonstrators chuck carrots and cabbages over the fence and call the president a "scared rabbitt." Yesterday they released a live rabbit through his fence.

Last night, as the city street cleaners were dispatched to clean up the mess in front of parliament, a scuffle broke out and a group of guys raided the opposition set up and destroyed computers from their press center. The opposition says the government was behind the raid. The government of course denies the accusation. The police cameras installed above parliament caught some of the action.

So, it could have been some pro-government thugs being thuggish. The cops weren't sent out to bust anybody, but then they are under order to remain put and not interfere unless some major happening is going on, as their presence could ignite a riot. Yet why would they take a chance and ruin what they have achieved by being non-confrontational?

It could have also been some opposition thugs creating a scene to blame on the government. The truth lies somewhere amongst the festering rubbish of Georgian events attributed to a long list of characters.

The city has come up with a plan to avoid future incidents.

Today a local journalist from Rezonansi newspaper asked me if it's true the government is paying my bills for me. I asked her to repeat herself. Somebody had called her paper and said us foreign correspondents are getting a free ride from the government to write bad things about them.

I told her no, that's not true. It is one truth I am absolutely certain of.

9 comments:

Jean Boris Urban (JB) said...

I do appreciate your postings on your blog and articles in newspapers. Best regards

Uta said...

they are weak and don't know who to blame now. now saakashvili pay's journalists he bribes obama LOL

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your updated postings from Spain. I follow the events in Tbilisi a bit worried about the country.
What do the Opposition parties say about reunification?

Anonymous said...

I wanted to bring your attention to a new documentary, At the Top of My Voice (www.atthetopofmyvoice.com) that I believe is essential viewing for anyone wanting to understand the current situation in Georgia.

Set against the backdrop of the 2007 crackdown on democracy in Georgia, the film follows activists Anna Dolidze and Irakli Kakabadze as they return to their native country to shine a light on the violence and corruption of President Saakashvili's regime and take part in monitoring his controversial reelection. Irakli Kakabadze is a novelist, poet and highly renowned political activist who played a key role in the Rose Revolution. His wife, Anna Dolidze, is a human rights lawyer and the former chair of the Georgian Young Lawyers Association. Both were forced to flee to the U.S. in 2006 to escape repeated harassment, imprisonment and beatings.

paul rimple said...

Uta,
Thank you for leaving a message. As for your allegation, I have lived and worked here as a journalist for 7 years. I have lots of journalist friends. Never has Saakashvili nor anybody from his government offered me nor my friends any money. It doesn't work like that, really.

Anonymous,
The opposition says Sakashvili lost the territories. Nobody admits they were already de facto lost. If you ask them how they would reunify the country, they say "by dialog" which is not wrong but it is vague. What kind of dialog? What are you willing to give? Both the opposition and government approached the separatist issue with the same arrogance. The only difference is that they weren't in Saakashvili's shoes when he decided to wage war.

And thank you, we are all a bit worried about the situation here.

Anonymous 2,
If Ana Dolidze wasn't married, I'd be writing love poems to her. She rocks.

Thanks for the link!

Anonymous said...

Do you think there is the possibility of civil war in Georgia?
Does the pressure of Russian Army in the occupied zones mean another slowly invasion of Georgia?
Don´t you think that the image of Georgia abroad is worsening with these protests?
(from Spain)

paul rimple said...

While anything is possible in Georgia, I don't think people have the stomach for another civil war. And both sides know that is exactly what Russia would want and that it would ultimately destroy the country.

I don't think Russia intends to invade at all. They are just stressing the situation out by reinforcing the separatist borders. Incidentally, Abkhazia always reinforces its border whenever Georgia has elections and protests as a precaution.

I certainly do think Georgia's reputation has been battered since April 9th and the government is as much to blame as the opposition for taking extreme stances that leave no room for compromising. Both sides are playing an all or nothing game and the government is at an advantage because it has the resources and a good record, despite the catastrophic war and heavy handed methods of achieving its aims.

The government under estimates the anger that exists in the nation. For every one of the 50 or 30,000 that turn up in front of parliament there are several more at home or driving a taxi with the same sentiment.

But there are just as many people who wish the opposition would just go away. This is not the time for protests for one thing, and when they look at individual opposition leaders, they don't see anybody offering anything other than a demand Saakashvili resigns.

To keep up their momentum, the opposition must talk tougher, which makes the situation very explosive, as they have already demanded the maximum.

It is all very sad.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, demonstrating that a country is a democracy is hard but worthy. You have to be open-minded to get it. This should be the aim of both: government and opposition parties. First all of them should go ahead to improve Georgia. This should end in encouraging relationships with other countries which expressed their intention to open embassies or establish relationship with Georgia after last summer "war" with Russia. Medvedev is using diplomacy quite well with Western countries now while Georgians "fight" among themselves.
Why don´t they propose a united Georgian march towards the "lost" territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia? This should be the point to link all the Georgians, to recover its territory.
The wish to fire out a President is not enough to rule a country. This must be done within the Parliaent, not outside it.

Anonymous said...

Paul!!!
Hi this is Voltron!
My email: wojtekdworak@sbcglobal.net.
Send me yours, please!
It's been a while...
How goes it?

Voltron