Georgian opposition announces ‘rally of silence’ on day of visit of US Secretary of State
Leaders of the united opposition in Georgia have announced that they will hold a ‘rally of silence’ on November 18 to draw the attention of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who will arrive in Tbilisi on that day, to claims that the results of the October 31 parliamentary elections were falsified.
Leader of the opposition European Georgia party, Gigi Ugulava invited supporters to come out at 11 am on November 18 to Rustaveli Avenue.
Everyone who comes will be given a sticker with the words ‘Lies’ and flags of Georgia and the United States.
The protesters are then invited to line up from the building of the Opera House towards the Republic Square, the Rustaveli metro, the Philharmonic and Melikishvili Street.
People will maintain a distance of 2 meters between each other, Ugulava said.
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“Large banners with Georgian and American flags and a message that the elections were rigged and that the country is being seized by a Russian oligarch will be displayed on Republic Square,” Gigi Ugulava said.
The politician called on the entire population to take part in the protest.
“This will be a very important signal to the international community that we are a democratic, law-abiding society, we want free elections,” he said.
Mike Pompeo will visit a total of seven countries November 13-23, and will arrive in Tbilisi after France and Turkey.
The US State Department said in a statement that he will meet with Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili, Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia and Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani “to express support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and call for further democratic reforms.”
The visit of the US Secretary of State to Georgia coincides with a tense situation – street rallies have not stopped in Georgia since the October 31 parliamentary elections.
The opposition claims that the government falsified the elections, does not recognize their results and refuses parliamentary mandates. The government says it does not intend to make concessions.
The protest moved to the street, several thousand-strong demosntrations are taking place, one of which was dispersed using water cannons.
The opposition has three main demands:
Conducting repeat parliamentary elections
Tamar Zhvania, head of the Central Election Commission, should resign and the composition of election commissions should be renewed
Political prisoners must be released.