Demonstration in Tbilisi – 02.11.2007
by Dato Rostomashvili
Four years after Georgia’s so-called Rose Revolution, thousands of protesters are demanding the resignation of President Mikhail Saakashvili. They gathered outside parliament in Tbilisi in a defiant challenge to the pro-Western leader. The US-educated lawyer was swept to power promising democracy and an end to corruption. He wants to take Georgia into NATO and the European Union, and frequently flaunts his democratic credentials.
But critics say that is a facade that marks an authoritarian streak and an intolerance of dissent. Opponents also want early parliamentary elections, and Presidential powers to be limited.
Georgia’s fractured opposition united in September when one of Saakashvili’s former close colleagues was arrested. Ex-Defence Minister Irakly Okruashvili had, just days earlier, announced he was creating a rival political party. He had also levelled criminal accusations against the President.