Though opposition organizers hoped to draw more than 100,000 people, it looks like the final count for today’s demonstrations will be a bit smaller.
Just how does one estimate the size of a crowd? It depends on whom you ask.
Reuters calls it 50,000 while Agence France Presse (AFP) estimated 60,000, while Radio Free Liberty reported 100,000. Civil.ge reported that opposition leaders estimated 100,000 but they guessed much less by 3:30 p.m.
Georgian government officials downplayed the figures: Eka Zguladze, first deputy minister of Internal Affairs, said observers reported seeing about 25,000 people. Meanwhile, Russian news agencies tended to play the numbers up: newsru.com, for example, estimated the crowd at 120, 000 or higher. Russia Today, the country’s premier English-language channel, was more conservative: they estimated only “tens of thousands of protests.”
But we put our money on a locally based, well-respected European researcher who prefers to remain anonymous. He’s applying a “leading international formula” based on the square meters of space covered by protesters and the crowd density.
His crowd estimate: 53,000.