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Organizers Of Ongoing Protests In Georgia Say They Are Changing Tactics


Georgian protesterst in front of the Georgian parliament in Tbilisi (file photo)
Georgian protesterst in front of the Georgian parliament in Tbilisi (file photo)

TBILISI -- As mass demonstrations in Georgia near the two-week mark, organizers calling for the resignation of the country's interior minister over police violence during the initial rally against Russian influence are changing their tactics to ensure that their protests do not fade away without results.

One of the organizers, Giga Makarishvili, said to RFE/RL on July 3 that from now on rallies will be held using what he called "guerrilla tactics."

Makarishvili explained that protesters will be following Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia everywhere he goes, demanding his resignation.

More than 240 people were injured when police fired rubber bullets and water cannons to turn back crowds trying to enter the parliament building on June 20.

The opposition accuses Gakharia of using excessive force to break up the demonstration, and protesters have gathered nightly in front of the parliament building to demand his resignation.

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"Every evening during the protests we will be screening films about Russia's politics on a big mobile screen. Presentations of books will be organized along with meetings with authors who write about Russia's politicking in Georgia," Makarishvili said.

Two other organizers of the rallies, Shota Digmelashvili and Misha Mshvildadze, also told reporters on July 3 about the changes in tactics.

The wave of protests was sparked by the visit of an official Russian delegation to parliament, including a Russian lawmaker who sat in the Georgian parliament speaker's seat while addressing a group of officials from predominantly Orthodox Christian countries.

A large majority of Georgians are openly hostile to Russia, 11 years after a five-day war that resulted in Russian forces occupying two breakaway regions.

Georgia fought a five-day war in 2008 against Russia that resulted in Russian forces leaving behind large contingents of troops in two Georgian breakaway regions.

With reporting by Interpressnews and