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Defend Georgia presents its action plan

By Mzia Kupunia
Friday, July 31
The newly-established public movement Defend Georgia held its first meeting with the public on July 29. Its members presented their action plan and target, which they say is to “end the existing regime and build a contemporary democracy”. Despite this political target its founders say the movement is “totally nonpolitical” and will not participate in any elections.

Opposition politician Koka Guntsadze, who has joined the movement, said the “current events” in the country had convinced the members of the necessity to create an “organised force.” “Our aim is to go to every house and cover the whole of Georgia,” he said, adding that starting from August 10 the members of the movement will start visiting Georgia’s regions. Former Presidential candidate and individual opposition leader Levan Gachechiladze, one of the initiators of Defend Georgia, said meetings with the people will be held regularly every month. Gachechiladze commented on the funding issue, however he did not specify who exactly will be financing the organisation. “There are several potential sources, but I will not disclose their names until some concrete steps are taken,” Gachechiladze told journalists on Wednesday.

Retired Major-General and Defence Minister of Georgia from 1993 to 1994 Gia Karkarashvili said he had joined the movement to defend the “innocent” people, who are being arrested and oppressed. “We should defend every person. I had taken a decision to leave politics and active public life, however the injustice that we see in Georgia does not give me the right to do so,” Karkarashvili said at the meeting. Film Director Levan Anjaparidze stated that the organisation is starting a project called “People Judge the Government” and he is planning to shoot a documentary film as part of this project. He called on all opposition supporters to come to the organisation’s office to “judge the Government together.”

Actress Nineli Chankvetadze said the reason she had joined the organisation could be expressed in a “short message”. “I want to defend Georgia,” she said “The time has come for society to get actively involved in the process of building the country,” Chankvetadze told The Messenger.

The founders of the movement said they are planning to open 8 regional offices by the end of September and set up local committees in every village. “We have also decided to establish trade congresses, which will help us to raise all the problems related to different professions. Together these will form the first free trade union in Georgia,” Koka Guntsadze said, adding that the first trade congresses will be established in the spheres of Healthcare and Education.