07TBILISI2764, PROTEST IN TBILISI SITREP NO. 1

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI2764 2007-11-07 12:53 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO0285
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #2764/01 3111253
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 071253Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8123
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 002764 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR DAS BRYZA AND EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/05/2017 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM GG
SUBJECT: PROTEST IN TBILISI SITREP NO. 1 
 
REF: TBILISI 2762 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (SBU) This cable provides a rough timeline of ongoing 
events on November 7 regarding protests against the 
Saakashvili government in front of Parliament, and the police 
actions that have been used to break up the protests and push 
people to the perimeter streets. 
 
2. (C) Chronology of Events on November 7.  Note: Times are 
approximate. 
 
- 1300 Hours:  Approximately 2,000 protesters had reassembled 
in front of Parliament.  They were pushing with police 
against barricades, which patrol police were using to try and 
keep people out of the streets.  Police beat some protesters 
with batons, much of which was shown on TV. 
 
- Police riot vehicles and anti-riot police wearing gas masks 
assembled in front of the crowds, estimates placed police 
presence at around 500. 
 
- 1315:  The riot vehicles opened water cannons onto the 
crowds, and the riot police advanced, firing tear gas.  The 
crowd rapidly fell back, but stayed on the streets and side 
streets. 
 
- 1415:  The action in the streets continued, although the 
area immediately in front of Parliament was largely cleared 
of protesters.  Occasionally water cannons and tear gas were 
still used. 
 
- 1430:  Some protesters entered Parliament, the neighboring 
School #1, and the Khashueti church across the street from 
Parliament. 
 
- 1445:  Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili was seen on 
Rustaveli in front of Parliament, shaking police officers' 
hands and reviewing the assorted police officers (incl. 
traffic police, criminal police, and SOD anti-riot units.) 
 
- MP Giga Bokeria repeatedly addressed the media, stating 
that the government was within its rights to disperse the 
protesters and that this happens frequently in democratic 
countries. 
 
- 1500:  Speaker Burjanadze said she would hold meetings with 
the opposition, and asked people to leave the area of the 
Parliament.  She said protesters inside Parliament should be 
removed. 
 
- Patriarch Ilia II of the Georgian Orthodox Church again 
appealed for calm and offered to mediate the crisis. 
 
- Prime Minister Zurab Noghaideli addressed the media, 
explaining that the government had a responsibility to 
disperse the protests, and that this was a legally-based 
decision. 
 
- Reports came in that the police had used tear gas in the 
church and School #1. 
 
- Police cordoned off more streets around Rustaveli Avenue 
near Parliament, and restricted all vehicles and crowds from 
entering.  Only certain individuals, guests at the nearby 
Marriott Hotel and residents were allowed in. 
 
- Police entered the side streets trying to clear out the 
pockets of remaining protesters. 
 
- 1515:  NDI's Chief of Party reported to Poloff that she had 
been inside Parliament at 1300, and witnessed the event from 
the beginning.  She said it was clear that the police 
initiated the action leading to push the crowds off the 
street in front of Parliament. 
 
- Member of Parliament Nika Rurua, a government supporter, 
told the press that the sate has the right to defend itself 
and that sometimes the implementation of the law is not 
pleasant to watch.  Television airwaves are filled with angry 
denunciations of the government's move against the 
demonstrators. 
 
- 1530: The crowds continued to mass near the perimeters 
police had established.  Estimates put the crowds at 5,000. 
Police were using batons to keep protesters away from the 
barricades. 
 
- 1545:  Police again clashed with protesters, using batons 
and tear gas, in front of the Opera House, a few hundred 
 
TBILISI 00002764  002 OF 002 
 
 
yards down Rustaveli from Parliament. 
 
- Opposition leader Goga Khaindrava was released from police 
custody.  He had been detained by police earlier in the day 
for a few hours after the demonstration was broken up, 
allegedly on suspicion of being intoxicated with drugs.  Upon 
his release he immediately condemned the action and blamed it 
directly on President Saakashvili. 
 
- 1600:  Opposition leaders reconvened in Rike, a wide space 
across the river from Tbilisi's Old Town.  They are calling 
for people to come there.  It appears 1,000 people are 
assembled there with them. 
 
- 1615:  Speaker of Parliament Burjanadze has become the face 
of the government in dealing with the opposition and once 
again called for dialogue.  She offered to meet with 
opposition leaders.  Burjanadze called on every citizen to 
support the state, which she said is facing a critical 
"exam."  She said the government had offered compromises on 
three of the four demands on November 6, but that the 
opposition had refused to accept them. 
TEFFT

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