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georgia

georgiagraf

photo by svioshvili

subtitles of this photo: (...) people putting this up have been arrested and accused of hooliganism... If this where the worst that happens in this town :( (...)

so what have we heard in international media since the end of the state emergency announced by the government of georgia? not a lot. we do face this phenomenon of globalised media to only discontinuously report about developing countries. its the catastrophies and destruction which is the main focus of reporting. world's attention seems to pass by quickly: perseverating attention, jumping from one news to the other. maybe western media will be back to georgia short before the envisaged elections in January, unless no other catastrophies happen in the meantime.

so lets turn to Russian newspapers instead: the moscow times starts in todays issue to replace the term rose revolution by the one of a smokey rose revolution:

(...) White smoke drifted low across Rustaveli Avenue for the second time in a month. But this time it was not the tear gas fired by riot police as they broke up anti-government protests. These were clouds of dry ice, pumped out from smoke machines on a stage outside the Georgian parliament, as a band of aging, frizzy-haired British rockers called Smokie chugged through their back catalogue of 1970s hits.

It was St. George's Day and the fourth anniversary of the Rose Revolution. Despite all the shock and bitterness caused by the civil unrest of the past weeks, the show clearly had to go on. Despite the band's supposed popularity across the former Soviet Union, Smokie did seem a peculiar choice to soundtrack the celebration of President Mikheil Saakashvili's finest moment, while the profane chorus of their best-known song, "Who the [expletive] Is Alice?" did not immediately appear suited to the respectful commemoration of Georgia's patron saint. (...)


kommersant reports about a (peaceful) rally last sunday to guarantee press freedom in georgia:

(...) Opposition supporters gathered outside the Georgian parliament on Sunday in the first rally after the emergency rule was lifted in the country. About 30,000 people got back to the spot where authorities dispersed an opposition rally on November 7 to demand a fair election and the return of the Imedi TV channel (...)

tbilisi11

image by tomaradze

(...) The Georgian Parliament on Thursday endorsed new Prime Minister Lado Gurgenidze who promised that the government would focus on welfare issues. Meanwhile, tensions around the opposition channel Imedi which went off air are mounting. Opposition leaders say they will resume rallying if the channel is not broadcasting again. Kommersant correspondents Olga Allenova and Vladimir Novikov report how Georgian authorities tackle the situation ahead of the presidential election. (...)

kommersant reports in a longish article.


matthew collin in the moscow times this article reports on people involved in the demonstrations:

(...) Everyone in Tbilisi has their own version of what happened on Nov. 7, the day when riot police put down the largest anti-government demonstrations since the Rose Revolution. The following day, media restrictions were in force under the state of emergency imposed by President Mikheil Saakashvili. Reliable information was hard to find, so I took a trip through my fearful and disturbed city to survey the psychological wreckage.

Outside a hill-top church, high above Tbilisi, scores of young people were milling around, some still wearing white headbands, which were the symbol of the opposition protests, and the medical masks they had used to protect themselves from the tear gas fired by the riot squads.

One young protester said he and his friends had fled in panic when the police charged. Priests helped them hide in the basement of the church. He showed me a rubber bullet that he said had hit him. "Our media is silent now, so you foreign journalists must deliver information about what happened out of the country," he urged. (...)

by nika gab:

tbilisi

plus a lot of international reactions which may have forced mr. saakashvili to announce early elections.

oder wie karl may in anderen kontexten gesagt hätte: sie sprechen mit gespaltener zunge. wir können auch politisches kleingeld dazu sagen oder zynismus der macht. kommersant berichtet (ENG):

(...) Russia’s Foreign Ministry’s spokesman Mikhail Kamynin demanded from Georgia to punish the guilty. Two journalists of Russia suffered as a result of actions of riot police that used tear gas against the opposition in Tbilisi, RIA Novosti reported without giving the names of the victims (...)

und der sprecher der duma, boris gryzlov legt bescheiden nach:

(...) It was the start of bloodshed,” Russia’s State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov vowed when commenting on the Wednesday actions of Georgian riot police against the opposition rallies (...)

auch scraps of moscow fühlt sich an schönsprech erinnert (ENG) und liefert uns eine wertvolle blogübersicht zum thema.

inzwischen erste pressemeldungen bei ap, die neuwahlen in georgien ankündigen:

(...) Georgia's pro-Western president said Thursday that the country would hold early presidential elections in January to defuse a crisis fueled by protests against him (...)

indeed, big O unexpectedly started doing business with georgia last year. this was quite exceptional and sauseschritt was sent to tbilisi the represent the organisation at a big international conference dealing with corruption in a certain sector of society. sauseschritt had the impression that the current government has undertaken a lot of efforts to combat the bitter heritage of the past. he and also representatives of other io´s and ngo´s were fully convinced that the current government was on a good way of change towards democracy and rule of law. georgia and aserbajdschan were considered as stabilizing factors in the shaken caucasus region. we all knew that russia had little interest to let these countries slip away to the west, but we hoped that the rose revolution would bring a peaceful future to this country.

now it seems that all hopes are gone. lately, sauseschritt follows the news closely, and the most balanced interpretation of what is happening now in georgia can be read on the blog of onnik krikorian. the title: georgia, end of a fairy tale. let us hope it is not too late for sustainable conflict resolution.

today, berrygeo reports and provides photos on flickr:

(...) Georgian police unleashed tear gas and water cannon on protestors calling for the resignation of President Mikhail Saakashvili. The clashes began at around 8 a.m. local time when police moved in to disperse around 100 protestors, including 47 hunger strikers, who had been camped outside the parliament building in the capital Tbilisi for the past six-days.

A further 3,000 had gathered in a show of support as demonstrators fled the gas, security forces in riot gear chased them through the streets beating them with batons. It is the first time the government had used force against the protestors, who accuse Saakashvilli of economic mismanagment, corruption and authoritarianism (...)


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an overview on what happened last week is also provided by the russian newspaper kommersant. also moscow times reports.

 

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