07TBILISI2662, OPPOSITION DRUMMING FOR SUPPORT IN REGIONS FOR NOVEMBER 2

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI2662 2007-10-26 11:48 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO0402
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #2662 2991148
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 261148Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8004
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS TBILISI 002662 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/CARC 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV GG
SUBJECT: OPPOSITION DRUMMING FOR SUPPORT IN REGIONS FOR NOVEMBER 2 
PROTEST 
 
REF: TBILISI 2559 
 
1. Summary:  The United National Council of ten opposition parties 
(reftel) has applied for a public demonstration permit with the city 
of Tbilisi for their November 2 anti-government demonstration.  They 
are actively promoting smaller-scale demonstrations in the regions 
and recruiting people to attend the November 2 protest in the 
capital.  The Council's preparations are meeting with mixed success 
so far.  End summary. 
 
2. Representatives of the ten opposition parties, which call 
themselves the United National Council, started a regional tour on 
October 23.  The purpose of the tour is to mobilize citizens in the 
regions to attend the opposition "Big Rally" scheduled for November 
2 in Tbilisi.  The tour itinerary was announced on TV and published 
in the press. 
 
3. On October 23, the opposition leaders visited towns of 
Chokhatauri and Ozurgeti, in Guria region and Batumi, Ajara. 
Published reports said "several thousand" attended these events, and 
Republican MP David Berdzenishvili estimated the first crowd at 
2,500 people and said around 7,000 people attended the Batumi rally. 
 The main slogan of the rally in Batumi was "Georgia without the 
President, Ajara without Varshalomidze!"  This slogan recalls the 
Rose Revolution when citizens rallied behind the call for "Georgia 
without Shevardnadze, Ajara without Abashidze!"  Reportedly, 
supporters of Aslan Abashidze, former head of the local government 
of Autonomous Republic of Ajara who was ousted in 2003, joined the 
rally. 
 
4. On October 24, opposition leaders visited the seaport of Poti. 
The meeting in Poti proved unsuccessful, as people did not gather in 
the city center.  After driving around for some time with horns and 
loudspeakers, the opposition left for Samtredia and Zugdidi where 
they found more supporters.  Berdzenishvili said some 600 supporters 
attended in Samtredia.  Of the National Council, only Konstantine 
Gamsakhurdia spoke in his home region of Zugdidi.  On the same day, 
the leaders returned to Tbilisi to hold meetings with 
representatives of medical doctors and NGOs. 
 
5. The rallying cry of the meetings is "I Am Not Afraid." The 
Council is calling for people to "stand up" against Saakashvili's 
"repressive regime."  Their main demand is to hold preterm 
Parliamentary elections in April, 2008. 
 
6. Concurrently, the opposition is preparing for the November 2 
rally, and has already filed a request for permission with the 
Tbilisi municipality.  Council leader Koba Davitashvili (Party of 
the People) said in a briefing that the Council expects about 
100,000 people to attend in front of Parliament on Rustaveli Avenue. 
 This is the high end of expectations, and no one is able to 
accurately predict what attendance will be.  Berdzenishvili said "we 
can bring as many people from the regions as we want; the only 
hindrance is money to pay for transportation."  The mayor's office 
formally has 10 days to consider the request for the rally, though 
the decision is expected to be known in two or three days. 
Rejection of the request, or offering a different venue, will 
increase the opposition's resentment of the government. 
 
TEFFT

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