Thousands of protesters march towards Parliament

By 1:45 p.m., more than 5,000 protesters challenging President Mikheil Saakashvili’s administration had already gathered in four different places in Tbilisi, and had started marching towards Parliament.

Avlabari Metro Station was the starting place for the Conservative Party and Movement for the United Georgia. They reported choosing the place intentionally because the new administration offices of the president are also located at Avlabari district. By 12 p.m. nearly 1000 people had already gathered at this spot. Leaders of the party are waiting for more protesters and at 1 p.m. they started a march towards the Parliament.

At the same time, people began gathering near the Georgian Public Broadcaster. Two movements, the Alliance for Georgia and former presidential opponent Levan Gachechiladze made statements. Alliance for Georgia leader Irakli Alasania took a hard line: he said the only chance for negotiations is if the President resigns.

Though the majority of people gathering were from Tbilisi, some activists arrived from Adjara as well. “There are people coming from Adjara … but they are also going to have a demonstration in Batumi,” said Republican Party Batumi Supreme Council member Gia Masalkini.

Students and the members of Nino Burjanadze’s party, The Democratic Movement – United Georgia, started to gather at the yard of Tbilisi State University. On the way to Rustaveli Avenue , towards Parliament, students shouted “Go go go Misha!!!”

Students from the Tbilisi State University, Georgian Technical University, Ilia Chavchavadze University, Medical University, And The Agricultural University united together to join the protesters’ demand.

Student of Tbilisi State University Ramaz Bechvaia, 23, said that all students share the main demand of resignation of President Saakashvili.

“We will stand here until our demand will be fulfilled,” said Bechvaia.

Protesters coming from Georgian Public Broadcaster and Tbilisi State University are going to join near Philarmonic Hall. Because of the large number of people the movement of the cars is stopped on Rustaveli Avenue.

Protesters from different regions of Georgia joined the demonstration on Rustaveli Avenue. 200 people from Guria region are already in Tbilisi and 1500 activists from Samegrelo camedespite a municipal transport shutdown.

One protester from Guria, 37 year-old Shota Gogiberidze, said “We have an obligation towards our children and have to create a better future for them.”

Out-of-town demonstrators hired private vehicles to reach the capital, and reported that police were stopping their cars and discouraged them from continuing to Tbilisi. According to protesters who reached the capital, the roads are now free and a lot of protesters are soon going to join the demonstration.

Protesters from Batumi went to the residence of President Saakashvili in Bobokvati, Adjara in approximately 50 cars and 10 mini buses. Ex-prime minister Zurab Nogaideli and members of his oppositional party Movement for Fair Georgia had information that President Saakashvili was going to be at his residence. When the information turned out to be false, the protesters went back to Batumi and despite rainy weather protested in front of the theatre. Observers reported that about 3000 people are going to join them.

Nino Burjanadze (Democratic movement - United Georgia) accompanied with her sons and students marching toward Parliament. photo by Giorgi Pkhachiashvili

Nino Burjanadze (Democratic movement - United Georgia) accompanied with her sons and students marching toward Parliament. photo by Giorgi Pkhachiashvili

Creating Future Today- students in front of Georgian Public Brpoadcaster. Photo by Tamuna Koridze

Creating Future Today- students in front of Georgian Public Brpoadcaster. Photo by Tamuna Koridze

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