State of Emergency in Georgia

Thursday, 08 November 2007

Image The Caucasus is boiling again. It seems that the situation in Georgia reached a fever pitch. After five days of anti-government demonstrations organized by the political oppositions which demands a resignation of the current president Mikheil Saakashvili and launching an early election, on 7th of November, the government  enforced 15 days state of emergency in Georgia.

Shortly before, Special Forces fired tear gas and used water cannons on crowds. While there are unknown number of casualties, over 200 people have sought medical treatment. All rallies in the country are banned and only state TV can broadcast news. Georgian President blames Moscow for fostering the opposition’s actions. The Russian diplomats were expelled from Georgia, as well as Georgian Ambassador to Russia was ordered to go back to the country. The opposition's leaders strongly deny connections with Russia. They consider any allegation of their relations with Russian secret service as one more government’s provocation. The West does not approve the decision regarding the emergency state and the potential Russian involvement regards as overstatement. Maybe for this reason, Saakashvili agreed for a compromise, and decided to set up early presidential election on 5th of January 2008;  he also promised to lift the state of emergency. However,  It could be seen as a diplomatic trick of the  President. Firstly, due to the fact  that government did not call for early parliamentary election which is one of the demands of the opposition. Secondly, charges were brought against the  leaders of two oppositional parties:  Labour Party - Shalve Natelashvili and Freedom Party - Konstantin Gamsakhurdia.  It is unlikely that this situation will contribute to soften tensions between the President and 10-parties oppositional  coalition. 

Anna CieĊ›lewska

 

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