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Opposition accuses Government of “repression”

By Mzia Kupunia
Thursday, June 18
The non-Parliamentary opposition has accused the Georgian Government of “attacking peaceful demonstrations.” Conservative Party co-leader Kakha Kukava held a special press conference in his office and called the June 15 incident an “unprecedented raid in Post-Soviet Georgia.” Kukava promised to release a list of the people participating in the “raid”. “A criminal investigation should start against these people,” Kukava told journalists on Wednesday. He called on the EU, Council of Europe and the leaders of “European democratic states” to study the cases of political terror in Georgia.

The Alliance for Georgia, led by Georgia’s former UN Ambassador Irakli Alasania, has claimed its activists are being arrested. Speaking at a press conference Tina Khidasheli, the leader of the Republican Party which is part of the Alliance for Georgia, said the “series of detentions” have fueled tensions during the last 3 days. “Activists and representatives of regional headquarters of the Alliance have been detained in Chokhatauri, Lanchkhuti, Adigeni, Chiatura, Gori and Tkibuli. 10 people have already been detained on different charges over the last three days,” Khidasheli noted. “The Government is continuing to persecute people for their political views, which sooner or later will lead the country to a serious confrontation or a big tragedy,” she added.

Irakli Alasania himself, who is visiting the US, assessed the June 15 incident as an “wilful act of terrorism against politicians with different views”. In his special statement Alasania said that the incident was a continuation of the “repressions” going on during recent months in Georgia. “We assess the multiple acts of violence committed by the Government as a response to our reiterated calls for negotiations in order to drag the country out of the crisis. The fact that none of the cases of assault on more than 200 peaceful demonstrators have been investigated, and the offenders have not been punished, indicates that the Government is on its way to “solving” the crisis by violent, November 7 methods. This is the way to civil confrontation, for which Saakashvili is personally responsible,” Alasania’s statement reads.

Some Georgian newspapers have also condemned the “violence” at the Tbilisi Police Department, where journalists were also attacked. A statement signed by 13 Georgian print media outlets puts responsibility for the incident on the administration and the Georgian President.

The former Parliament Speaker and now prominent opposition leader Nino Burjanadze has said she will sue ruling party MPs David Bakradze, Goka Gabashvili, Petre Tsiskarishvili and Givi Targamadze, as well as the National Movement itself, for conducting a “dirty campaign against her party”, the Democratic Movement-United Georgia. Government officials were not available for comment on this development.

Meanwhile the Patrol Police have restored traffic movement on Ingorokva Street, which has been blocked with improvised cells. No incidents occurred during the removal of the cells as the opposition had said they were going to remove the cells themselves later on Wednesday. The opposition leaders said after a consultation meeting in Nino Burjanadze’s office on June 16 that they need “more coordination.” “The non-Parliamentary opposition will offer innovations to the public,” leader of the Conservative Party Zviad Dzidziguri said after the meeting, also attended by National Forum representatives. “Opposition leaders will raise new issues and take new decisions,” Dzidziguri said.

“Radical” opposition leaders have not revealed what exactly they mean by “innovations”. Eka Beselia from the Movement for United Georgia told The Messenger further details will be announced next week, on Monday. She said consultations are still going on between the non-Parliamentary opposition forces. She said reaching out to the regions of Georgia could be one of the options. “But this is only one part of the plan. We were campaigning in the regions before April 9 as well, so this is not something new for us,” Beselia said.