A rally against the Sochi Olympic Games was held in Tbilisi, Gori, Kutaisi, Zugdidi and Telavi on February 1. The Movement for Independence and Euro integration, which organized the rally, said that Georgian athletes participating in the Olympics held by “the occupant” of Georgian territories must not be permitted.
Rally against Sochi Olympic Games
By Tatia Megeneishvili
Monday, February 3
Under the slogan “No to the Sochi Olympic Games” the protesters called for the athletes to boycott the event.
United National Movement’s spokesperson Andro Barnovi, said that Georgians as a society should show unity and avoid standing on their knees in front of “the occupaier” begging for forgiveness.
One of the protesters even suggested that the athletes would better go under their own names not the name of the country.
Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili said a week ago on January 23 that the Georgian government supports the idea of the Olympic Games not the country that hosts it this year. This is why he said participation of Georgian athletes is not under discussion.
However, Georgian officials will not attend the Olympic Games just like several other world leaders.
Four Georgian athletes will take part in the upcoming Sochi Olympic Games scheduled on February 7-23, 2014.
Commenting on the recent anti-Olympic rallies, First Vice President of the Georgian National Olympic Committee Elguja Berishvili told the Georgian service of Radio Liberty that people's attitude to the Sochi Olympics is not surprising, as the Olympics will be held in a country that occupies 20% of Georgian territories. However he said the Olympic Games are not pursued by Russia, but the International Olympic Committee.
“So, the reason why we do not boycott is that we do not want to spoil relationship with the International Olympic Committee,” Berishvili explained, stressing that it is also important for the athletes to participate in the winter Olympic Games for their future careers.
According to the Vice President of the Georgian National Olympic Committee Mamuka Khabareli, the guarantee of the athletes’ safety has been given by the Switzerland embassy to Georgia.
The safety measures in Sochi have also been tightened due to the threats of the radicals from the Northern Caucasus who have spread different threats about the possible attacks in Sochi.