Georgian Party’s flags seen at a rally outside the public broadcaster on May 22. Photo: Guram Muradov/Civil.ge
The opposition Georgian Party said that it would no longer hold a rally on May 25, which the party earlier said should have been turned into “the Day of Rage” and “final day” for President Saakashvili’s government.
The Georgian Party also said that its co-founder and ex-defense minister Irakli Okruashvili, contrary to his earlier pledge, had also to drop plans to arrive in Georgia on May 25.
The Georgian Party cited behind its decision a failure to agree on a joint tactic with Nino Burjanadze, ex-parliamentary speaker, who is behind the People’s Assembly and ongoing rally outside the public broadcaster.
While the Georgian Party was planning to hold a rally on May 25 on Avlabari Square, close to the presidential palace, Nino Burjanadze and the People’s Assembly announced on Monday that they would hold the rally on Freedom Square on May 25 in order not to let the authorities hold a military parade on May 26.
Sozar Subari, the chairman of the Georgian Party, said that efforts to coordinate actions with the People’s Assembly “unfortunately yielded no results.”
“Nino Burjanadze and representatives of People’s Assembly made it clear that they had certain doubts in respect of Irakli Okruashvili,” Subari said.
He also said that the two separate, simultaneous rallies would have “confused” supporters and as a result the party had to take “a hard decision” and to cancel the planned rally on Avlabari Square.
The Georgian Party first announced about its intention to rally on Avlabari Square on May 22. The party said at the time that it would start “decisive struggle for the regime change” in Georgia from May 25, which, it said, should become “the Day of Rage of the Georgian people.”
On the same day, on May 22, Okruashvili, who has a political asylum in France and is sentenced to 11 years in jail in absentia in Georgia, said that he would return back to Georgia on May 25, which he said, “will be the last day for this government.”
Also on May 22, leaders from the Georgian Party arrived at a protest venue outside the public broadcaster, where the People’s Assembly, led by Nino Burjanadze, is holding rallies.
The move, to some extent, gave a new momentum to the street protests by the People’s Assembly as it was seen as an attempt to unite forces between the two rival opposition groups both of which have declared about their goal to stage a peaceful revolution. But on the other hand the joining of the Georgian Party to the rallies did not result in any significant increase of scale of the street protest.
On May 23 Nino Burjanadze and the People’s Assembly announced that they would march from their current protest venue outside the public broadcaster to the Freedom Square on May 25 and hold a rally, separate from the one of the Georgian Party.
Although Burjanadze said that the People’s Assembly was coordinating actions with the Georgian Party, in her remarks she was clearly indicating on May 23 that it was the People’s Assembly which was leading the process. On May 23 she also distanced herself from Okruashvili some of the controversial remarks.
Irakli Batiashvili, one of the leaders of the People’s Assembly, said shortly after the Georgian Party’s announcement on May 24, that the People’s Assembly would not change its plans and hold a rally on Freedom Square on May 25.
The Georgian Party also said that although it was not involved in organizing the planned rally on Freedom Square on May 25, its activists were free to go and participate in it.