Kartlis Deda covering her eye – New Stencil in Tbilisi
17 July, 2019
Kartlis Deda covering her eye – new stencil has appeared in Tbilisi. The stencil is drawn near Kashveti Church on Rustaveli Avenue. Kartlis Deda covering her eye is a show of support to the anti-occupation demonstrations held since June 20 in Tbilisi. The author of the stencil is Giorgi Gagoshidze.
Kartlis Deda (Mother of Georgia) is one of the most famous Georgian statues. The statue was erected in 1958 on Mount Mtatsminda, the year Tbilisi celebrated its 1500th anniversary. Prominent Georgian
sculptor Elguja Amashukeli designed a figure of a woman in Georgian national dress. She symbolizes the Georgian national character: in her left hand she holds a bowl of wine to greet those who come as friends and in her right hand is a sword for those who come as enemies.

Anti-occupation rally

On June 20, civic society together with different opposition members took to the streets after seeing the Russian MP in the Georgian Parliament speaker’s chair. Russian MP Sergei Gavrilov, who was forced to leave Georgia following anger, was leading the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy in the Russian language. The demonstrators, angered by the presence of Mr.Gavrilov, gathered in front of the Parliament building to protest Russian military occupation of Georgia's breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

It was said that some of the demonstrators, encouraged by an opposition member, tried to storm the parliament building. In order to prevent the protesters from entering the building, riot police used teargas, rubber bullets (used for animal control) and water cannon. Some protestors got heavily injured including journalists, two people lost their eyes and a group of people was detained as well. The police were running a number of protestors down to different locations till the dawn. Next day, the speaker of the Georgian Parliament Irakli Kobakhidze resigned.

Next day on June 21, the demonstration was resumed, protesters with banners saying “Gakharia, Go Home” and red eye patches (showing solidarity to those injured during the riot control) with a sign of “20%” to refer the amount of Georgian land occupied by Russia. Along with with protesting the Russian military occupation, the protesters demanded the resignation of Interior Minister (who was responsible for the riot control on June 20), the release of the detained protesters and conduct of proportional elections in 2020. The Government has agreed to two demands but the resignation of the Interior Minister.

Peaceful anti-occupation demonstrations continue till today. The demonstrators demand the resignation of the Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia. They organize different activities to protest the Russian military occupation in Georgia and to remind the government to take full responsibility for the events taking place on June 20-21.

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