Irakli Alasania, the chairman of Alliance for Georgia, was the only opposition leader, among those behind the ongoing protests, who went to the Holy Trinity Cathedral to attend a nationwide repentance prayer.
President Saakashvili and other senior officials attended the prayer, called by an influential head of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Ilia II, on April 26, in the same cathedral. Some lawmakers from Christian-Democratic Movement, a leading party in the parliamentary minority group, were also there.
Alasania’s decision to attend the prayer in the same Cathedral together with the Georgian authorities came as a surprise, because other opposition leaders announced earlier that they would pray in other churches and went to either Kashueti or Sioni churches in Tbilisi, in an apparent attempt to avoid appearance together with President Saakashvili, whose resignation they are demanding.
“Unfortunately, the authorities use these great religious events for their political PR campaign; so we want to avoid it” by not going to the Holy Trinity Cathedral, Eka Beselia of the Movement for United Georgia, told protesters outside the Parliament earlier on April 28.
“I intended to come here. Today is the day of repentance,” Irakli Alasania told journalists upon arrival in the Holy Trinity Cathedral, accompanied by some of his political team members.
“When the Georgian Patriarch called on us to stand together, it is step towards consolidation of the country and the society. We should all forget political differences and as the Patriarch called on us, we should pray together on the day of repentance,” he said. “The opposition is ready for meetings, for dialogue on various topics and we expect the authorities to express their opinions on how to help the country out of this crisis.”