Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Sarkozy, Hollande and the scooter wars

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Confusion online over Air Algérie flight

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014

Read more

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

WWI Centenary: the battle for Verdun

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

When big companies want to do good

Read more

FOCUS

Many Turks angry over Syrian refugee situation

Read more

  • In pictures: Debris and devastation at Air Algérie Flight AH5017 crash scene

    Read more

  • ‘No survivors’ from Algerian plane crash, says Hollande

    Read more

  • Paris bans new Gaza protest scheduled for Saturday

    Read more

  • Lithuania’s Navardauskas wins 19th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • French families grieve for Algerian plane crash victims

    Read more

  • Protest against Gaza offensive turns deadly in West Bank

    Read more

  • LA Times wipes France off the map in air crash infographic

    Read more

  • Tour de France fans bring the ambience to the Pyrenees

    Read more

  • Halal tourism on the rise

    Read more

  • French lawyer files complaint against Israel at ICC

    Read more

  • Ukraine names acting PM after Yatseniuk's shock resignation

    Read more

  • BNP to pay $80 million for defrauding Dept of Agriculture

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Wreckage of Algeria plane found in Mali

    Read more

  • Pope meets Christian woman sentenced to death in Sudan

    Read more

Europe

Opposition rallies 50,000 protesters on Independence Day

Latest update : 2009-05-27

More than 50,000 opposition protesters rallied on Georgia's Independence Day in defiance of the authorities. The rally marked the culmination of over a month of protests calling for the resignation of President Mikheil Saakashvili.

AFP - More than 50,000 opposition supporters rallied in a Tbilisi stadium to mark Georgian Independence Day on Tuesday, prompting authorities to cancel a traditional military parade for fear of clashes.
   
Protesters packed the huge football stadium and planned a march through the streets of the capital of the former Soviet republic.
   
The rally marked the culmination of over a month of opposition protests aimed at forcing the resignation of President Mikheil Saakashvili.
   
"We will fight for this country, Saakashvili cannot stay president," said Nino Burjanadze, the former parliamentary speaker who is now one of Saakashvili's most vehement opponents.
   
"The only thing we have to discuss with the authorities is their resignation," she added.
   
The Georgian opposition has been staging daily protests since April 9 in the biggest demonstrations against Saakashvili's rule since Georgia fought a brief war with Russia last August.
   
Opponents accuse Saakashvili of mishandling the conflict with Russia and of becoming increasingly autocratic since he came to power after the peaceful 2003 Rose Revolution.
   
In the stadium on Tuesday, the crowd sang the national anthem and observed a minute of silence for those who died during the August war, in which Georgia lost a bid to re-exert control over its two separatist regions.
   
"Saakashvili must leave because he ceded our territories to the Russians," said Natela Urashvili, a 49-year-old dentist who attended the protest.
   
Demonstrators planned to march down the capital's main avenue, on a holiday that has traditionally been marked by a military parade. The Georgian defence ministry said the parade this year was cancelled.
   
Saakashvili attended a ceremony to inaugurate a memorial to Georgian soldiers who died during the fighting in August.
   
The Georgian leader has rejected the resignation calls, instead offering talks on democratic reforms, and has suggested that Russia is financing the campaign against him.
   
The May 26 holiday marks the date that Georgia declared independence from Russia in 1918 and started a short-lived republic. It is one of two main patriotic holidays in Georgia.
 

Date created : 2009-05-26

COMMENT(S)