More than a dozen opposition parties hope to gather between 150,000-200,000 people in front of Parliament on April 9th — and the government officials said they have no plans to stop them, unless the crowd gets violent.
“It will be a normal day for us. We don’t have different plans for this day,” said Vano Noniashvili, head of the press office for Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili. As Noniashvili said, if there are any violations, the Ministry of Interior Affairs will take measures as in ordinary days.
Eka Zguladze, the first deputy minister of Internal Affairs, told foreign journalists at a press conference Wednesday, April 8 that police are only worried about “security issues” and are not going to use force or violence against demonstraters during the rallies. She added that police will not attempt direct contact with people and that 3,000 police wearing special uniforms will be monitoring security issues during the protests.
“Police will use force only in situations when demonstraters break the law,” she said.
Saakashvili’s National Movement political party, which holds a majority of seats in parliament, also will not step out. Giorgi Kandelaki, an active National Movement member, said that it’s normal for the opposition parties to make such democratic acts.
“Protest is one of the rights of the people. As a power party, we will not be provoked,” said Kandelaki.
The government will take other preventative measures, though. Nino Chikava, the press secretary of parliament, said that the doors of parliament have been locked.
“It is for preventing protestors from entering the parliament building. On the 9th and 10th April, also parliamentarians can’t enter into the building” said Chikava. Parliament is not currently in session, she said.
– By Vugar Babayev, Sabina Akbarova, Zaka Guluyev and Alana Gagloeva/GIPA Journalism School Students.