07TBILISI2774, TBILISI PROTESTS: SITREP 3

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI2774 2007-11-07 17:18 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tbilisi

O 071718Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8128

UNCLAS TBILISI 002774 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR/CARC, EUR/RUS, EUR FO, DS/ITA/EUR 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV ASEC GG RU
SUBJECT: TBILISI PROTESTS: SITREP 3 
 
REF: TBILISI 2771 
 
PRESIDENT SAAKASHVILI ADDRESSES THE GEORGIAN NATION 
--------------------------------------------- ------- 
 
1. President Saakashvili addressed the Georgian nation live 
on television at approximately 1900 on November 7. 
Meanwhile, demonstrators clashed in the streets with police 
after being dispersed from the Rike area on the other side of 
the Mtkvari River from Parliament.  The demonstrators had 
retreated to this area after being forced off Rustaveli 
Avenue in front of the Parliament earlier in the day. 
Television cameras captured hundreds of demonstrators being 
fired on with a water cannon, tear gas and reportedly, rubber 
bullets.  Also filmed were demonstrators being beaten by 
police and a few policemen being beaten by demonstrators. 
Unconfirmed reports place the number of emergency room 
admissions at 360, although the extent of the injuries 
treated is not known. 
 
2.  Saakashvili's speech offered no conciliation with the 
demonstrators.  He said that the government had allowed the 
protests to continue so long as they were peaceful, and that 
the protesters were exercising their democratic rights until 
today.  The government had taken the opportunity to re-open 
Rustaveli Avenue early on November 7 when few protesters 
remained.  The violence began only because protesters tried 
to return to the street.  Saakashvili said only such force as 
is usual in other democratic states was used. 
 
3.  The bulk of Saakashvili's speech was focused on 
clandestine Russian support for the disorders.  He said that 
Georgian intelligence was aware of Russian plans to create 
turmoil in Georgia, and that an alternative government has 
already been set up in Moscow.  He described Badri 
Patarkatsishvili as a "Russian" oligarch who has called for 
overthrowing the government.  He referred to co-optation by 
Russian intelligence of some other opposition leaders. 
Immediately after the speech ended pro-government Rustavi 2 
began airing video and telephone conversations of some 
leaders allegedly communicating with Russian intelligence 
agents.  Saakashvili added that some Russian diplomats are 
being expelled as undesirable persons. 
 
4.  Saakashvili vowed not to allow the protests to 
de-stabilize Georgia or jeopardize Georgia's future and 
economic and democratic progress, about which he expressed 
pride.  He also said the disorder risks Georgia's chance to 
recover Abkhazia and South Ossetia.  He briefly mentioned the 
need for dialogue and respect for democratic processes, and 
then asked the demonstrators in the street to disperse and go 
home.  He called on the population to support him in this, 
relying on their wisdom and patriotism. 
 
5.  Saakashvili's speech, although more impassioned than his 
last appearance on Sunday, did not address the 
election-related demands that have been continuously voiced 
by the opposition.  It offered no compromise to the 
protesters who still are present on many streets in the 
capital, and warned that all appropriate measures will be 
taken to restore order. 
 
6.  Protests and sporadic clashes with police might continue 
through the night. because  Saakashvili's words are unlikely 
to persuade the hard core of demonstrators to leave the 
streets.  His words were addressed to the wider public 
watching on television and strongly rely on the Russian 
threat to bring people to his side in his contest with the 
opposition. 
 
ANTI-GOVERNMENT TELEVISION STATION CLOSED DOWN 
--------------------------------------------- - 
 
7.  At about 2100, the Embassy received reports that police 
had entered the studios of Imedi television, which is 
regarded as anti-government.  The station then went off the 
air.  Government officials reportedly justified the action by 
blaming the station for inciting the anti-government violence 
that went on today. 
TEFFT

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