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“Misha must go, let the future be warned”

By Sopo Datishvili
Monday, March 16
On March 15 Georgian civil and non-Governmental organizations held a street protest at the Rustaveli Monument in central Tbilisi. The major slogan of the protest was: “Misha must go, let the future be warned.” The meeting was designed to be non-political in the sense that political parties were only invited as guests.

The meeting was opened by the leader of “Law for People” Zaqaria Qutsnashvili, who declared that this event would mark the beginning of unity in Georgian civil society. Political parties were forbidden to attend the protest with their party flags and symbols as the manifestation wasn’t organized by them. The majority of placards on display called for the release of so-called political prisoners. Some bore the photos of Girgviliani, Vazagashvili and Robakidze victims of police repressions.

Many political and public figures attended the meeting on March 15. Poet Jansug Charkviani was among them. He expressed his extreme dissatisfaction with the present Government and said that the worst thing was that the country’s rulers couldn’t acknowledge their own mistakes. “I’m with my people now. And I’m going to be with them on April 9, just as I was 20 years ago on the same day”, he said.

The Director of Maestro TV Mamuka Glonti was also among those expressing their protest towards the present Government. He said that he supported all the demands made by those present, from the release of political prisoners to freedom of speech. “The involvement of civil society is crucial today. Political parties have their duty, NGOs theirs, and society should be supreme, so what is happening here today carries great importance,” he added.

Member of the Equality Institute Lasha Chkhartishvili also attended. He explained the main purpose of the protest and underlined once again that it was nonpolitical. “This manifestation is organized by civil society to support the opposition plans to change this Government. The slogan of today’s protest, “Misha must go, let the future be warned,” means that today we are also cautioning a future Government against making the same mistakes the present one has.

“The state should be based on the participation of the public in country’s life. Today this is impossible as the present Government is a usurper and governs the country through violence and bribery,” Chkhartishvili added.

Movement for United Georgia member Eka Beselia was among the politicians who joined the people at the protest. “The organizers of this protest and we, the opposition, have one mutual demand, Saakashvili’s resignation. So it is natural that today I am here but I’d like to point out that I am not the initiator of all this, just a participant in it”, she explained.

The meeting certainly didn’t lack public support but it was difficult to find someone willing to be quoted publicly. “Yes, as far as I can see I support all the demands the organizers of this have made. I am here with my friends and we are going to stand together on April 9 as well. I think this is all being done to give us a better life,” said an elderly lady, who also wished to be anonymous.