Supporters of the Georgian opposition, who arrived in Tbilisi the day before from the regions, set up 11 tents in a small square in front of the parliament and spent the night in them.
“The tents near the parliament are part of our struggle against the anti-popular regime. This is our legal right to protest. If necessary, we will set up tents on the roadway of Rustaveli Avenue, ”said Zaal Udumashvili, one of the leaders of the United National Movement (UNM) opposition party, to Interfax.
According to one of the members of the “National Movement” Khatia Dekanoidze, the opposition plans to picket the buildings of the Georgian government, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Parliament from March 2.
The protesters demand early elections, “release of political prisoners” and “change of electoral administrations.”
“If the authorities do not fulfill these requirements within two weeks, then we will turn Rustaveli Avenue into a tent city and close it,” sputnik Georgia, a representative of the opposition movement Alik Kuprava, is quoted as saying.
The demonstrators, in particular, demand the release of the chairman of the opposition United National Movement party, Nika Melia, who is accused of organizing the riots.
The political crisis erupted in Georgia after the leaders of the opposition parties boycotted the parliament in November 2020, making a statement about the falsification of the parliamentary elections held in the country, which Georgian Dream won, Gazeta.ru writes.
On February 23, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili called on all opposition forces to start a dialogue with the authorities about the future of the country. According to him, the government is ready for dialogue with the opposition “at any time and in any format.”
According to representatives of the ruling Georgian Dream party, ordinary citizens do not support the protests in Tbilisi, and the ongoing opposition protests are organized by former President Mikheil Saakashvili, who wants to return to power.
On February 22, the Georgian parliament approved the composition of the new Cabinet, headed by a member of the ruling Georgian Dream party, Prime Minister Garibashvili, and its government program. His predecessor, Giorgi Gakharia, announced his resignation last week over disagreements with team members over Melia, who was ordered to be arrested by the court for failing to pay bail.