Georgian officials and ordinary citizens marked the 28th anniversary of April 9, a tragic day when peaceful Georgian demonstrators became victims of Soviet forces.
Georgia commemorates April 9
By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, Monday 10
Every April 9, Georgians gather at the memorial located in front of the old Parliament building in Tbilisi to pay tribute to the victims. A total of 20 people were killed during April 9 peaceful demonstration, when they were demanding the country’s independence from the Soviet regime.
The ministers talked about the historical importance of 9 April and underlined that the day was a precondition for the independence of Georgia.
“For us, this is a very important day, which is associated with our people's struggle for independence,” the PM stated.
Kvirikashvili noted that everything should be done to make Georgia united again.
“I have no doubt that this dream will come true,” he added.
The President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili also put a wreath at the April 9 memorial.
“It is very important to never forget the tragedy and the people who were courageously defending our independence,” the President said.
On April 9 1989, sixteen anti-Soviet protesters were killed on Rustaveli Avenue and four others died later. Hundreds of activists were injured, poisoned and needed medical attention.
The demonstration in 1989 began on April 4th, when a group of students went on a hunger strike. They were later joined by several hundred people. On April 9 1989 at 4 a.m., special task units of the Soviet Army, commanded by General Rodionov, attacked the protesters. The Soviet troops also used toxic gas against the peaceful demonstrators. Sixteen demonstrators were killed on the scene; four later died from injuries, while hundreds of others were injured or poisoned and hospitalized.
On April 9 1991, Georgia gained independence from the Soviet Union, and so this day is very symbolic for Georgians and is associated with the struggle for freedom and independence.