Tens of thousands of Georgians have flooded the streets of their capital demanding the President steps down.
There has been a growing backlash against Mikheil Saakashvili, spurred by last year’s disastrous war with Russia. Opposition leaders say they will rally everyday outside the parliament building until he quits. They accuse Saakashvili of being authoritarian and of not following through with democratic reforms he promised in the 2003 Rose Revolution which swept him to power. Irakly Alasania, one of the leaders of the opposition, rallied the crowds. He told them they had to show the world that their will and strength would lead to change. Referring to events 20 years ago, he described the day as a tragic one in history, adding that, at the same time, it was their day of unity. Ironically, analysts say that it is because the opposition lacks unity that their chances of toppling the President are reduced. Saakashvili was also out on the streets of the capital. He was at a rally to mark the 20th anniversary of a Soviet crackdown when Georgians took to the streets demanding independence. Unity was a word also on the embattled leader’s lips. Only unity he said would allow Georgia to turn into a modern and democratic nation.