Some opposition and government leaders, including President Saakashvili, were briefly united early on April 9 when they appeared together outside the parliament to commemorate the victims of the tragedy of April 9, 1989, when twenty people were killed as Soviet troops attacked a crowd of peaceful protesters in Tbilisi.
Levan Gachechiladze, a former opposition presidential candidate who is now among organizers of protest rallies to demand the President’s resignation, was standing next to President Saakashvili, holding candles. Former Parliamentary Chairperson and now one of opposition leaders, Nino Burjanadze and sitting Parliamentary Chairman, Davit Bakradze, were also there, as well as Eka Beselia of Movement for United Georgia opposition party.
“No matter how our positions and views may differ we have one motherland, we need unity for the sake of this motherland,” Saakashvili told journalists in brief comments made after the ceremony outside the Parliament. “We need to accomplish our struggle for eventual liberation of Georgia and for eventual establishment of a democratic, free, European state – something for which people have sacrificed themselves here under the Russian tanks [referring to events of April 9, 1989] and for which our soldiers sacrificed themselves in August [war with Russia].”
April 9 also marks the restoration of Georgia’s independence, as the Georgian legislative body passed a declaration of independence in 1991 based on the results of the March 31, 1991 referendum, in which an overwhelming majority of Georgians voted to secede from the Soviet Union.
Levan Gachechiladze said that the opposition was “well-organized” and ready for launching protest rallies, planned to start outside the Parliament at 2pm local time on April 9.
Davit Bakradze, the parliamentary chairman, reiterated on April 9, that the authorities have offered the opposition to launch a dialogue on a comprehensive package of democratic reforms involving electoral and constitutional reforms, as well as reform of local-self governance. Over dozen of opposition parties planning rallies said they did not believe that the authorities were sincere in their offer.