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European Georgia vs Georgians’ March

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, July 25
Members of the Georgians’ March, a movement which claims it protects traditional values in Georgia, stood against the European Georgia parliamentary opposition and Republicans non-parliamentary opposition at a rally on Agmashenebli Avenue in central Tbilision July 23.

The European Georgia opposition, which was created after the split of the United National Movement after the 2016 Parliamentary Elections, planned a rally on the Avenue several days ago, which was targeted against the “fascism and xenophobia” of the Georgians’ March.

Later the rally was joined by the Republicans, as they believe “the country won’t be built by hatred.”

On July 20, leaders of the Georgians’ March, which demand strict rules and deportation of illegal migrants and who verbally assaulted those against the movement, stressed they would hold a counter-rally on Agmashenebli Avenue at the same time.

The Patriarchate of Georgia released a statement early on the day and asked both sides to refrain from holding their rallies in order to avoid tension and confrontations.

Sandro Bregadze, one of the leaders of the Georgians’ March, wrote on Facebook shortly after the Patriarchate’s statement that he “always obeyed the Patriarch’s will” and the Georgians’ March will not be held.

However, some movement members appeared at the scene anyway and threw stones, eggs, brooms and similar at the opposition supporters.

One woman received a light injury as one of the stones hit her.

One of the leaders of the European Georgia, former Parliament Speaker David Bakradze, stated “they won’t let Russian propaganda win in the name of Georgian traditions.”

The opposition claims that the Georgians’ March movement is being backed by Russia or those supporting Russian interests in Georgia.

During their rally more than a week ago, leaders of the Georgians’ March demanded “Georgia for Georgians”, and stressed the country must keep its religious and traditional values.

Georgia’s young representative to UN, Tatia Dolidze, criticized the Georgians’ March ideology on her Facebook, which was followed by strong reactions from the movement’s leaders, some of whom even threated the 25-year-old girl with rape.

The comments on Facebook written by Georgians’ March leaders and members stirred a large-scaled outcry, even a rally promoting the protection of women. Dolidze filed a case against one of the Georgians’ March leaders believed to make a derogatory statement through social network.