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How the number of protesters is calculated

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, May 5
There is much speculation about how many protesters are attending the protest rallies. The opposition is inflating the number of people protesting in the streets because this number is a measure of popular support - the Rose Revolution was approved by locals as well as the international community because it expressed the will of most of the population. The administration however wants to see fewer people in the streets and that is why the figures quoted by both sides differ so substantially. The opposition has claimed that more than 100,000 people attended the April 9 rally, and some say even 200,000. The authorities said that 25,000 turned out.

Experts say that the method of calculating the number of people in a crowded place is not very sophisticated. As a rule they allow for 4 people per square metre if the crowd is dense and 2-3 if they stand in clumps. Rustaveli Avenue is around 50 metres wide and its length from the Tbilisi Marriott Hotel to the Youth Palace is around 200 metres. This gives a total area of approximately 10,000 square metres, so the maximum number of people in that area was 40,000, the minimum 20,000 and average 30,000. However people were also standing as far up as Freedom Square and as far down from there as the opera house and many kept coming and going. Therefore according to the accepted methodology we can say that the protest action of 9 April could easily have attracted more than 60,000 people.

At the Rose Revolution most of the protesters were in Freedom Square because the area in front of Parliament was occupied by the supporters of the Shevardnadze regime. Therefore it is probable that more people came to the opposition rally on April 9 than took part in the Rose Revolution.