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Shevardnadze critical of Government reaction to protests

By Salome Modebadze
Wednesday, June 1
The controversy surrounding the May 26 dispersal continues. Ex-President Eduard Shevardnadze said that the incident had been one of the biggest mistakes of the current Government. “It isn’t difficult to dismiss people with a water jet - Saakashvili had to meet and talk to people and try to calm them even in the case of a failure but he didn’t want to negotiate,” Shevardnadze told the Russian Izvestie. Worrying that the recent events have deteriorated the situation in the country Shevardnadze emphasized that he could see lots of clever figures in politics while others have appeared in this field merely by chance.

Former Minister of Economy and the founder of Free University Kakha Bendukidze said Burjanadze has “put all her pooling on the game of declared revolution in Georgia”. In an interview given to Russian Komsomolskaia Pravda Bendukidze doubted that Burjanadze’s visits to Moscow could have ever brought peace. “If Burjanadze would have scrapped the military parade she would have become the “main” oppositionist. When Burjanadze found out that Irakli Okruashvili wouldn’t have arrived she found herself as the only player on the entire oppositional field and hoped to become a hero,” Bendukidze stated.

Bendukidze explained that there is always great tension in the countries building democracy where society tries to express its position. Stressing that no one would have let people endanger the parade, Bendukidze wondered why the law enforcers did not show more restraint during the dismissal operation. Confident that people, brutally dismissed by Government would never participate in the “similar experiments” the former Minister recollected the Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and wondered how the protesters could announce the date of revolution beforehand.

Upset that the “paranoid struggle” for Rustaveli Avenue had such a fatal ending Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM) expressed their protests towards the Government by leaving the Parliamentary session yesterday. Accusing the current Government of endangering the existence of the entire Georgian statehood Giorgi Targamadze, leader of CDM, said he still hoped to feel the unanimity at the Parliament on that day. “But not even the tragedy could unite the sides and I can see an invisible boundary between us,” he stated.

Accusing the Government of provocations, leader of People’s Party Koba Davitashvili wondered why they hadn’t prevented the confrontation if they had made the recordings of the criminals so long before. “We used to warn the organizers of the rally of the possible failure but unfortunately it was all in vain. But if the Government wanted to avoid the bloody clash with their own people they would have done so,” Davitashvili said before demanding a rapid investigation of the events. Doubting that Saakashvili would ever withdraw through protest rallies Davitashvili emphasized how the eight oppositional parties [working on the electoral environment] have achieved international support.

Nugzar Tsiklauri Chairman of Diaspora and Caucasus Issues Committee of the Georgian Parliament said that the evidence had proved that Nino Burjanadze the leader of Democratic Movement – United Georgia and her supporters are state traitors. “But political and legal aspects should be split from each other. The Georgian Government is not going to push the opponents from side through legal ways that’s why no persecution has been started against them,” Tsiklauri said explaining that the ruling United National Movement (UNM) doesn’t use the political processes for imprisoning the odious political figures in order to isolate them from the society.

Analyst Gia Nodia from Coalition for European Georgia said the May 21-26 rallies were “unsuccessful provocative steps” and insisted on raising the case against the Representative Public Assembly leaders for their attempt to make a revolution. Coalition member Mikheil Tavkhelidze even found the Government too tolerant towards Nino Burjanadze and wondered why the Government had not arrested her if they really have enough evidence against the oppositional leader.

Finding it difficult to make sense of the entire story, political analyst Ramaz Sakvarelidze said May 26 had been a losing day for everyone. Wondering why the opposition did not consider their previous experience with the protest rallies the analyst said that people have more anger against the Government because being in governance means taking your people under your wings not only holding parades. “The leader which is not the protector of his people can’t be considered as a leader,” he said stressing that the young inexperienced governmental team cannot learn a good lesson.