Tbilisi Mayor, Gigi Ugulava, said the authorities would not hold a military parade on the Rustaveli Avenue to mark the Independence Day on May 26 if “there are no conditions for that.”
The opposition leaders said on May 12 that they would hold a large-scale “public parade” on May 26 to mark the Independence Day. They also said that they would not remove improvised ‘cells’ from Rustaveli Avenue and would not let the authorities hold military parade on Rustaveli Avenue – key venue of the ongoing protests.
Gigi Ugulava, who is President Saakashvili close ally, said on May 13, that it was “regrettable” that the opposition was trying to use the Independence Day for its “narrow party interests.”
He also said that the authorities would respond to the opposition’s “provocation” with “calm” and “patience.”
“It is quite clear that radical opposition is trying to provoke the authorities on using force… Similar provocation took place on May 6 [when the protesters and police confronted outside the Tbilisi police headquarters] and the decision, which we all have heard, is of the same provocative nature,” Ugulava said, referring to the opposition decision not to disperse rally outside the Parliament for May 26 events.
“Holding of a military parade is not a goal in itself,” he continued. “If there are no conditions, of course, the military parade will not be held and I do not see any tragedy in it.”
Ugulava was speaking with journalists before meeting with a group of foreign diplomats accredited in Georgia.
Parliamentary Chairman, Davit Bakradze, who also participated in the same meeting, also told journalists that holding of a military parade was not the authorities' “key task.” He said the key priority was “to maintain peace and calmness in the country and to prevent any provocations.”
Bakradze said that he was ready to meet with opposition any time to launch “discussion of details” of President Saakashvili’s proposals, including issues related with composition of a commission, which will work on constitutional reforms.
Most of the opposition leaders, behind the ongoing protest rallies, have rejected the President’s proposals and said the authorities should at first acknowledge that there was a crisis in the country.
“It is very regretful that the radical opposition decided to use its meeting with the President only for further escalation of the situation and further radicalization of processes,” Bakradze said.
“I reiterate that we were ready and we are still ready to try to solve all disagreements through a dialogue, to solve all disagreements through long-term reforms,” Bakradze said.