The FINANCIAL — The American Chamber of Commerce in Georgia decided to join the live-chain rally today and once again show support to Georgia, AmCham told FINANCIAL. AmCham members will be located at the Baratashvili Bridge in Tbilisi city center.
Tens of thousands of people were expected to rally across Georgia today to protest against Russia’s actions as EU leaders hold an emergency summit on the conflict, according to Agency France Press.
Demonstrators were to form a human chain through the Georgian capital Tbilisi and similar actions were planned in major European cities including Brussels, London and Vienna.
AFP says the human chain would be formed at 3:00 pm in Tbilisi (1100 GMT) and in other major cities in Georgia, government spokeswoman Nino Imedashvili said in a statement.
In a show of national unity, the chain has been organised by the government, political parties, Georgian NGOs as well as state and private Georgian television.
“We are expecting tens of thousands of people, I think there will be over 30,000 just in Tbilisi,” lawmaker Papuna Davitaia of the ruling United National Movement told AFP.
He said the rally would “show the world and Europe our unity.”
Georgia is hoping EU leaders will give a tough response to Russia’s August 8 incursion, occupation of several parts of Georgia, and recognition of independence for two Moscow-backed separatist regions.
Huge billboards reading “Stop Russia” have been put up on major public buildings in Tbilisi, showing pictures of Georgians displaced in the conflicts and unflattering images of Russia’s generals.
Advertisements for the rally have been running on Georgian television for days.
The adverts, which show victims of Russia’s bombing campaign against Georgia and footage of a previous rally that drew tens of thousands to the streets of Tbilisi, call for Georgians to protest “hand in hand” on Monday.
“Georgia is counting on us…Europe must not flinch”
Europe must continue to preserve its values, President of the EP delegation with the South Caucasus countries, Marie Anne Isler Beguin declared. “The 27 countries must unite to defend democracy and demand that Russia comes to an agreement over the resolution of the situation. Georgia’s sovereignty and its borders were recognised by all parties, including Russia. The EU must not flinch, because the Georgians have been let down by the US and are counting on the EU to help them. The Council must have the courage to take the decisions it has failed to take since the start of the tensions 2-3 years ago”.
David Cameron today branded Russia a “bully” as he called on EU leaders meeting on Monday to impose tough sanctions to persuade Russia to abide by international rules.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin urged the European Union to ignore calls to punish Moscow over the Georgia conflict as Tbilisi appealed Saturday for targeted punishment of the Russian leadership.
Speaking to the Financial Times yesterday, Dan Fried, the US State Department’s top official on Europe, put support for Georgia as the top of the list of US objectives, followed by an effort “to blunt Russia’s efforts to draw a new line in Europe and Eurasia and enforce a sphere of influence”.
He added that Mr Cheney would visit “three of the most endangered countries” in the region – not just Georgia but also Azerbaijan and Ukraine.
Today, Russia warned against western support for Georgia’s leadership, saying it would be a mistake of “truly historic proportions”, daily Telegraph reports.
Georgian Parliement has issued resolution on August 29 declaring Russian armed forces, including the so called peacekeeping forces, currently deployed on the territory of Georgia, as occupying military units.
According to the resolution, Georgian Parliament declares Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia and the former Autonomous Region of South Ossetia as territories occupied by the Russian Federation;
“All military unites on the territory of Georgia, except the unites provided for by the Georgian legislation, as the illegal armed forces;
Georgia remains a party to the cease-fire Agreement concluded on 12 August 2008 through the mediation of the European Union and the President of France Sarkozi; at the same time instructs the executive authorities to secure annulment of all other legal acts permitting the presence of the military units of the Russian Federation on the territory of Georgia, which have been already made void itself by the actions of Russian Federation;
Georgia remains adherent to the obligations under cease-fire Agreement of 12 August 2008 by the mediation of the European Union, as well as of other agreements on cease-fire;
To entrust the executive authorities of Georgia with the task of breaking off the diplomatic relations with the Russian Federation;
To entrust the Office of the Prosecutor General of Georgia with the task of investigating the facts of ethnic cleansing committed by the Russian Federation on the territory of Georgia;
This resolution shall enter into force upon its promulgation”.