At least 60,000 Georgians have taken to the streets of the capital Tbilisi to demand President Saakashvili quit his job.
Opposition leaders have promised to demonstrate daily outside the parliament in Tbilisi until he quits One Tbilisi resident said: “ We will stay here until total freedom is achieved, till the day when everybody feels real democracy is possible in Georgia. “ Speakers at the rally outside parliament complained of government pressure on the media and judiciary and criticised the last summer’s war against Russia which Georgia lost. Saakashvili has been accused of monopolising power and stifling the reforms he promised in the so-called Rose Revolution that swept him to power in 2003. Opposition leader Nino Burjanadze said: “This is the president who lost 20 per cent of Georgian territory, who brought Russian military bases back to our soil, who really stopped Georgia’s nearest future aspirations to be a member of NATO.” The European Union has been watching developments and has been urging calm. Saakashvili was discredited in the five-day war last August which set back his goal of regaining control over two Russian-backed separatist regions: South Ossetia and Abkhazia. .