The messenger logo

‘No to Occupation’ - Georgian students protest at occupation line

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, July 10
‘No to occupation - Russia is occupant’ is the slogan of a protest rally, which was organized by the Georgian students and the representatives of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) this weekend at the village Bershueti, ShidaKartli region, near the occupation line with de facto South Ossetia.

The demonstrators protested recent misappropriation of Georgian land by occupants, who moved the border sign 500 meters into Georgian-controlled territory, depriving local farmers of access to 20 hectares of the agricultural land owned by them.

The students gathered in Akhalsopeli village, where they were given instructions over safety by the representatives of Georgia’s Interior Ministry. Later the demonstrators marched to village Bershueti with the banners against occupation and Russia.

The protesters claimed the rally was not a political step and its only aim was to condemn Russia’s aggressive steps and occupation of Georgia.

“Our main aim is to call on the society to wake up and not to put up with Russia’s creeping annexation of Georgian territories. We also call on the government to use all diplomatic channels to prevent this process,” one of the students stated.

A part of the protesters set up tents near the installed border and green banners spending a night there.

Another protest rally was held in Tbilisi by the representatives of the parliamentary minority European Georgia.

Young activists of the party gathered at the building of old Parliament with the slogan – ‘No to Occupation, You are Occupants!’ accusing the governmental representatives of inactivity.

Protesters symbolically installed barbed wires. Elene Khoshtaria, a candidate of European Georgia for Tbilisi Mayor’s post, also joined the protest.

“It is very important that our society showed the government as well as the international community that we are not going to put up with the Russian occupation,” Khoshtaria said.

Illegal installation of a ‘Green Sign’ at the occupation line in Bershueti took place on July 4th, 2017.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of Georgia has made a comment regarding the issue and expressed its ‘deep’ concern over the fact and called upon the international community to duly assess the situation in Georgia’s occupied territories and take respective measures to stop Russia’s illegal actions.

“This is a continuation of the illegal process of the so-called “borderization” [demarcation of the border], which not only restricts the fundamental rights of local residents but considerably damages the security situation on the ground and obstructs Georgia’s efforts to achieve peaceful resolution of the conflict,” the ministry stated.

However, the European Union Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM) said that the installation of illegal border sign took place not on July 4 but earlier on June 19, 2017.