30 May, 2012

May 26, 2011 will never be forgotten in Georgia. On May 25 the ‘Popular Forum’ action moved from Kostava str. to Rustaveli Ave. The rally participants decided to continue the action in front of the Parliament. They were given the Mayor’s Office permission to hold the action till 00.00. On May 26, at 00.15 a special task force equipped with water cannon trucks moved towards the participants. The Special Forces used tear gas and rubber bullets. According to official data, 4 people died. One of them was Vladimer Mansurashvili , employee of the Department of Constitutional Security and another – 54-year-old Nodat Tskkhadadze, activist of Labor Party. On May 27, bodies of 2 more men were found on Liberty Square territory. According to official information, the bodies were found on the roof of a store near the Liberty Square underground station. According to the Interior Ministry information, the deceased have touched the electricity wire. One of them was Nika Kvintradze, whom the family was looking for after the dispersal of May 26 rally and the other – Suliko Asatiani.

At that time Irakli Sesiashvili was an expert of security policy. ‘The aim of authorities was not dispersal of the rally but suppression, threatening of people, political and civil organizations and other forces disloyal to their policy. According to the correlation of forces several members of Special Forces had one protester to beat… Not a single lady was there among the detained, i.e. it was pre-calculated whom to punish. Besides the leaders they caught every male up to the age of 45; older ones were released.’
Severity of dispersal was also experienced by ‘PalitraMedia’ journalists. Having seen the tear gas been used, people dispersed in every direction. The special squad soldiers traced them in groups beating them with truncheons. The street was full of beaten and fallen-down and handcuffed people. According to victims, it wasn’t dispersal of the action; it was punishment of those people who, as the soldiers shouted out, were punished for standing besides Nino Burjanadze. But they actually were fighting against injustice.
Inga Grigolia, City Council member: ‘Saakashvili demonstrated classical authoritative approach - I will destroy everybody who is against me. They beat people not only during dispersal but after arresting them too. When I came to the Republican Hospital, part of the people was already brought there; some time after ambulances started coming all at once. Groups of heavily

beaten three men were taken out from the cars. I said at the City Council meeting that there was smell of blood in the Republican Hospital. Zaza Sinauridze, National Movement deputy mocked at me saying that of course there should be smell of blood in a hospital’(!)
A year later after tragic May 26, 2011 events Georgian authorities changed their mind to hold a parade to celebrate the Independence Day in front of the already ex-Parliamentary building. The parade was held in Kutaisi, at a new building of Parliament and Rustaveli Ave in Tbilisi was left for the industrial parade. Despite the fact that development of products of National Industry causes positive reaction on part of society, the people expressed their irritation to the parade and words written on a banner stuck on the building of ex-Parliament – ‘Saakashvili rebuilds the Country’. ‘In place of the banner I would stick a huge photo with an inscription – ‘This is what nobody should repeat’, says a lady who was hit by a soldier’s truncheon on May 26 of the previous year. ‘Our proud authorities make festivals for their own selves enjoying unlimited power,’ says a lady on the Rustaveli Ave.
Civil funeral was held in the Trinity Cathedral to commemorate May 26 events. Leader of ‘Georgian Dream’ Bidzina Ivanishvili together with the representatives of ‘Popular Forum’ attended the event.

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