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21 Dec, 2009 18:29

2,000 protest demolition of war memorial in Georgia

The opposition in Georgia held a peaceful rally in the city of Kutaisi where, two days ago, a woman and her daughter were killed during the demolition of a World War II memorial.

About 2,000 people and the leaders of several parties attended the event.

The protesters criticized authorities for their policy and said "the fight against monuments is unacceptable and criminal".

”People, who start fighting with history and with monuments like this, those individuals have completely lost their ability to think,” one of the protesters said.

“As a citizen of my country, and as a World War Two veteran I take the demolition of this monument as an act of humiliation to my people. Whoever made this decision, spat right into the heart of his own nation,” the other protester stressed.

Meanwhile, the Georgian Labor Party has urged the UN and UNESCO to form a special commission and investigate the situation.

"Several days ago the UN adopted a resolution which condemned the glorification of Nazis and defamation of monuments to WW2 victims. Thus, the UN must condemn the destruction of the Glory Monument in Kutaisi on the order of President Mikhail Saakashvili," Labor Party Secretary General Ioseb Shatberashvili stated at a news briefing on Monday.

The monument was taken down on Saturday to clear a space for a planned parliament building.

The opposition, however, demands the memorial be restored and a church be built near the site in memory of both the World War II heroes and the two dead residents.

Some also believe that by destroying the monument president Mikhail Saakashvili wants to erase all connection between Georgians and Russians.