While European leaders mulled their response to Russia’s show of force, Georgians themselves opted for a peaceful show of defiance. President Mikheil Saakashvili joined thousands of people in a human chain through the capital Tbilisi; similar anti-Moscow protests were planned across the country.
“I am very proud of my people because we have all the nation standing all over Georgia, holding hands around Russian checkpoints, all over the roads, all over every major city and village,” the President said.
Despite having no right to display them, the flags of the EU and NATO were prominent in the crowd, as Georgia tried to pressurise the West into action.
Across the country, Georgia’s Day of Unity brought more than a million people onto the streets. They are hoping for strong backing from the EU summit, but privately, many accept that Abkhazia and South Ossetia are lost for good.