South Ossetians rally to commemorate their kin killed and missing in conflict
Relatives and friends of Ossetians who were either killed or went missing during the conflict over South Ossetia held a rally on 6 March in Tskhinval to protest against what they said was a hullabaloo raised by the Georgian authorities and media over the death of Archil Tatunashvili. The latter, a Georgian national, died under unclear circumstances on 22 February, after being arrested by South Ossetian law-enforces.
The protesters, including school pupils and university students, were carrying photos of those killed in the 1989-2008 hostilities and posters calling on the world community to recognize Georgia’s responsibility for the Ossetians who were dead or missing as a result of the war.
“Today, the Georgian leadership, journalists and public figures have taken to international platforms to flag up the death of their citizen, Archil Tatunashvili. They’ve demanded, harshly, that his body should be released. But who will be held responsible for the bodies of our guys who were killed in Georgia?” said Rosa Valiyeva, a member of the South Ossetian Parliament, as she addressed the rally.
The relatives of three Ossetian nationals – Alan Khugaev, Alan Khachirov and Soltan Pliev, who went missing during the 2008 conflict – also took the floor at the rally. They called on the authorities not to release the body of Archil Tatunashvili unless the bodies of the missing Ossetian men had been handed over to their relatives first.
The rally ended with a moment of silence for the Ossetians who perished in the war.