Georgian protesters break for Easter
After a week of anti-government rallies, protesters in Georgia are taking a break for the upcoming Orthodox Easter holidays, but they refuse to stop calling President Mikhail Saakashvili to resign from office.
Rallies in front of the Parliament building in Tbilisi have been ongoing for a week.
Opposition members have even prepared all the necessary documents for the head of state's resignation. All he needs to do is to put pen to paper, but their demand for Saakashvili’s stepping down has not yet been met.
Mikhail Saakashvili says that on this issue his answer is a concrete ‘no’, “and it has always been no, because that’s how it is under the constitution.”
For many the turning point in his presidency was the August conflict last year. As well as failures by Saakashvili's administration, the opposition says it can’t forgive what they say was the president’s action in South Ossetia.
“The totalitarian regime, violations of freedom of speech, political assassinations, terrorist attacks… There are many political prisoners in jail. And, of course, it is due to Saakashvili’s rash actions that Georgia has lost territory,” says Koba Davitashvili, leader of Georgian People’s Party.
Poet and opposition member Lia Naroushvili is packed and she's ready to leave Georgia if Saakashvili doesn't resign. She is holding onto the hope that one day he will step down and she will be able to return to her native land headed by a new leader.
“The whole city is against Saakashvili. If he has at least a little bit of brain he will go. There’s no place for him in Georgia. But if he stays against everyone’s will I'm not going to live in this country. I don't care where to go – just out of here,” says Lia Naroushvili.
It is unclear for how much longer Lia will have to keep her suitcases packed, but in protest she sits in a replica cage every day, as a way of symbolizing that her own country has become a prison under Saakashvili.