A mass protest rally scheduled for November 2 is not a goal in itself and may be called off if the authorities engage in dialogue with the opposition on vital issues, Davit Usupashvili, the opposition Republican Party leader, said in an interview published by the daily 24 Saati (24 Hours) on October 12.
“The authorities understand only the language of large numbers of people on the streets,” Usupashvili said. “The goal of the November 2 protest rally is to persuade the authorities to engage in dialogue on the issues which we are pushing for and which are supported by the public. If such dialogue takes place before November 2, we [the Republican Party] are ready to recommend to our partners within the National Council that they engage in these talks. We do not want to use the November 2 protest rally to punish anyone.”
The National Council is a body uniting leaders from ten opposition parties. It was set up following the arrest of ex-Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili to jointly push for parliamentary elections in April, instead of late 2008. The demand has been rejected by key ruling party members.
Meanwhile, members of the National Council are campaigning in the provinces, calling on their supporters to participate in the planned protest rally outside Parliament on November 2. Following a visit to the eastern region of Kakheti on October 6, they are expected in Shida Kartli and Samtskhe-Javakheti regions on October 12.