Opposition activists set up tents outside Georgian parliament in Tbilisi
Georgian opposition activists, who arrived in Tbilisi from regions on Friday, have set up 11 tents in a small square outside the parliament building and spent a night in them.
"The tents outside the parliament are part of our fight against the regime adversary to the people. It is our legitimate right to express protest. If necessary, we will set up tents in the middle of Rustaveli Avenue as well," Zaal Udumashvili, one of the leaders of the opposition party United National Movement, told journalists.
The police do not yet interfere with opposition activists' activities, but they do not allow them to set up tents on the traffic area of Rustaveli Avenue.
On Friday, leaders and supporters of the opposition held a noisy, but small rally in central Tbilisi. According to various estimates, from 1,000 to 2,000 people took part in it. The protesters demanded that United National Movement Chairman Nikanor Melia be released and that a new parliamentary election be scheduled. The opposition leaders said that the authorities must meet their demands in the next two weeks otherwise protests will grow more radical. Opposition activists plant to picket outside the buildings of the parliament, the State Chancellery, the Interior Ministry, and the city court.
Representatives of the ruling party Georgian Dream, in turn, told journalists that the protestors in Tbilisi are leaders and activists of the opposition parties, but they are not supported by ordinary citizens.
"The radical opposition led by former President Mikheil Saakashvili does not have support among the population today," Giorgi Volski, first deputy parliamentary speaker and one of the Georgian Dream leaders, told the press.
According to Volski, the opposition's events of the last few days were organized by Saakashvili who wants "not just to return to Georgia, but return to rule Georgia."
The ruling party is ready to negotiate with the opposition about stabilization of the political situation, but not about a new election, he said.