‘No to the Russian fascism’ – this was the main slogan of yesterday’s rally
The participants in European Georgia’s organized march in Aghmashenebeli Avenue, in Tbilisi, were pelted with eggs, bottles, brooms and some other items.
The anti-fascist march, organized by the European Georgia political association, was mostly in response to a march entitled ‘Georgians march’, held in Tbilisi on 14 July. The nationalist-minded organizers of the ‘Georgians’ march’ made some xenophobic statements, demanding Georgian authorities to deport all illegal migrants from the country.
Several opposition parties and representatives of the civil sector, as well as ordinary citizens who oppose the ‘Georgians’ march’ idea, also joined the European Georgia’s anti-fascist march.
‘No to Russian fascism’- this was a major slogan at yesterday’s rally. According to European Georgia members, ‘Georgians’ march’ is a Russian project that serves to mar Georgia’s international image. In their opinion, the representatives of the ‘Georgians’ march’ movement were under the patronage of Bidzina Ivanishvili’s government.
“Russian propaganda has acquired alarming shape in Georgia, and what we could see today – aggression, violence, treading down Georgian traditions, intolerance towards those who hold a different opinion, xenophobia – all that is a manifestation of Russian propaganda. It also slams the door on Georgia’s European future. The Georgian society should not let Russian propaganda, cloaked by Georgian traditions, which is actually fighting against Georgia’s major traditions, win in the country,” said David Bakradze, one of the leaders of European Georgia.
Yesterday’s march didn’t pass without incident however; the ‘Georgians march’ organizers decided to hold a counter-rally and also gathered in Aghmashenebeli Avenue. They tried to approach the anti-fascist rally participants, but law-enforcers didn’t allow them to do so. Hundreds of law-enforcement officers were mobilized yesterday to prevent the clashes.
Despite the law-enforcers’ efforts, some verbal exchanges between the European Georgia members and the Georgians’ march participants still took place. The European Georgia march participants were pelted with bottles filled with water, eggs and brooms.
The rally, which started at 8 p.m., finally dispersed by 10 p.m. As the Georgians’ march organizers told journalists, they were going to organize larger-scale rallies. In their words, the only thing that stopped them from entering into a confrontation with the European Georgia members was the appeal of Georgian Patriarch, Ilia II.
- European Georgia is an opposition political force, set up after the breakup of the former ruling party, the United National Movement (UNM). The party is led by ex-President Saakashvili’s former team-members: David Bakradze, Giga Bokeria and Gigi Ugulava.