I was watching Friday (7th November 2008) news from Georgia’s capital Tbilisi where some 10.000 demonstrators were marching against current political leadership and demanding early presidential and parliamentary elections. They were gathering also on the national parliament and the presidential residence to commemorate the events of last year, when a similar rally was violently dispersed by police. Same time also anglo-american mainstreammedia has widely published new reports about how events started on August 7th 2008. Both of these events are not very favorable to Georgia’s President Saakashvili.
Demonstrators and supporters of Georgian opposition parties wanted an investigation into the August war in South Ossetia, freedom of speech and press, and the release of political prisoners. They also want the former independent television station – Imedi TV – to be returned to its rightful owners, the family of Badri Patarkatsishvili who died in London in February this year.
It has went a year now on last big similar protest in Tbilisi. Then the opposition was demanding Mikhail Saakashvili’s resignation, and an immediate parliamentary election. On the fifth day of demonstrations, when about 60,000 people were rallying in the capital, the police started dispersing the crowd using sound guns, tear gas and water cannons against protesters. Hundreds of protesters were injured in the clashes.
Who started war?
New information about events on 7th August 2008 came public e.g. through The New York Times and BBC. According OSCE monitors on the ground it is now in doubt that some groups from South-Ossetia had provocated Georgia’s attack by firing some Georgian villages. The OSCE monitors did not find any proof about this provocation.
In Tshinvali – South-Ossetian capital – was also three OSCE monitors and they have keeped record about first hours of Georgia’s attack against town. Their records show, that about half of bombings and heavy artillery fire came middle of civil neighborhood without any military targets.
Countdown for Saakashvili?
Western media has described President Saakashvili as an reliable ally, modern democrat and popular leader. The events on 7th Aug. 2008 showed an authoritarian gambler side of him. There was some doubts about fairness with last elections so maybe demonstrators have a case. Let’s monitor how now started rallies are continuing – are they coming bigger, what is the response of police. Maybe the West should start to look an new ally now, before it is too late.
An other aspect with these news about August 7th events bothers me. After three months anglo-american sc. free “investigative” mainstream press is starting to tell what really happened. These facts were in public knowledge immediately through Russian media and latest one month in European continental media (E.g. I wrote an article “OSCE report fault Georgia …” on 3rd September based Der Spiegel article 1st September, Archive:Blog).
More my views one may find from my BalkanBlog.