Thousands of Georgians protest against the government: ‘Russian accomplices’

Thousands of Georgians protest against the government: 'Russian accomplices'
Protest in the Georgian capital

NOS News

Thousands took part in a demonstration in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi. The demonstration was directed against the current government led by the Georgian Dream Party, which the demonstrators see as an extension of Russia. Police said the demonstration went off without hindrance.

The rally was organized by the main opposition party, the pro-Western United National Movement, founded by imprisoned former president Saakashvili. The demonstrators carried the flags of the European Union, Ukraine and their country, among other things.

“Moscow controls the Georgian government and we have to save our homeland from the followers of the Russians,” former president Margilashvili was quoted by the French news agency AFP as telling the crowd. “We are a freedom-loving people, part of the European family. We are against Russian slavery.”

Secret cooperation

The ruling Georgian dream has been accused of imprisoning dissidents, frustrating independent media, secretly collaborating with the Kremlin, and countering Georgia’s pro-EU policy. The leader of the United National Movement said that Moscow is trying to turn Georgia into a Russian province. “The people here are asking for a European future for our country,” he told Reuters news agency.

The movement demands, among other things, the release of political prisoners and the implementation of reforms. The European Union demanded this before Georgia’s accession to the European Union was considered.

fierce criticism

This is not the first time this year that anti-government demonstrations have taken place in Georgia. Last month, tens of thousands of Georgians took to the streets over a controversial bill that would require organizations to register as “foreign agents” if they are partly funded from abroad.

Opponents have called the law “Russian law”: the Kremlin already introduced a similar law in 2012 and uses it to silence critical media or international organizations such as Amnesty International. Georgian Dream pulled the law with a slap on the arm.

Former President Saakashvili was sentenced in absentia to six years in prison for abuse of power in 2018, and was actually arrested three years later, upon his arrival in his homeland. Human rights groups say the conviction is politically motivated. According to doctors, his health has deteriorated sharply in recent months.

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