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There will be street protests on May 6

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, May 4
Various Georgian opposition parties intend to hold street rallies on May 6, they stated on May 3.

The opposition is objecting to reports that the Government might declare May 6 Police Day when the whole of Georgia celebrates Saint George’s Day on that date.

The street rally will be held outside the Interior Ministry. "The Interior Ministry is preparing to celebrate Police Day on May 6 and thus make Saint George’s Day Police Day, one more sign that Georgia is a police state. Hundreds of people have been victims of this police state, including 60 political and many illegal prisoners. On 6 May last year police violently abused Georgian citizens and on exactly this date the Government is intending to celebrate Police Day,” Eka Beselia, leader of Solidarity for Political Prisoners said. "I am really revolted by this news. Only a year after May 6 2009, when Vano Merabishvili (Interior Minister) and Saakashvili’s private army assaulted peaceful demonstrators and blinded several of them, they announce this. This is another manifestation of the cynical attitude taken by the present Georgian Government to the Georgian people and our citizens should respond to it and take part in planned street rallies on May 6,” Nino Burjanadze, leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia, stated.

Leader of Defend Georgia Levan Gachechiladze said that provocations from the Government cannot be excluded. "Merabishvili and Saakashvili could do anything. We will protest against last year’s events and walk the same way we walked last year and stop in front of the Interior Ministry,” Gachechiladze said.

The National Council, Defend Georgia, Democratic Movement-United Georgia and Solidarity for Political Prisoners will take part in the rally. However some parties have refused to participate. "The Alliance for Georgia will not take part in the street rallies on May 6, as we are election campaigning; however we share the opinion of our opposition colleagues on this matter. 6 May is one of the greatest holidays for Georgians and declaring it Police Day is unacceptable for us as well,” Manana Nachkebia from the Alliance told The Messenger. The Alliance and its Mayoral candidate Irakli Alasania have other objections to the Interior Ministry as well but will seek to express them another way. “The Interior Ministry, Ministry of Justice and other law enforcers are terrorising trainee officers and their families into voting for the Government and its candidates. Such pressure was applied in 2008 Parliamentary elections too and we have documentary evidence of this. I appeal to the Public Prosecutor to launch an investigation and start a case against the National Movement for blackmailing trainees and their families. In 2008 nearly 1,600 trainees and their family members were made to vote for the National Movement in Vake precinct,” Alasania said. He added that he had raised this issue with OSCE representatives on May 3, giving them proof of these violations, and the OSCE representatives will check the information given.

The Government denies putting any kind of pressure on Georgian citizens and also denies the existence of political prisoners in Georgia. Speaking to The Messenger, a Government representative neither confirmed nor denied that May 6 was going to be declared Police Day. ”I cannot give you definite information concerning this as I am currently addressing more important issues than this,” MP Irakli Kavtaradze said.