Events in the autonomy of Adzharia are to become the first ordeal for the recently elected president of Georgia Mikhail Saakashvili
The Georgian TV channel Rustavi-2 reported that leaders of the Kmara (Enough!) movement declared mobilization of the movement supporters in all parts of Western Georgia. Activists of the movement are going to Adzharia to organize protest actions and demand that head of the autonomy Aslan Abashidze must resign.
Representatives of the Kmara movement say: "Irrespective of the pressure put upon us, we are still going to fight against Abashidze. Today we initiate unification of all the efforts and our supporters. So, Aslan Abashidze will have to resign quietly, as well as Shevardnadze has resigned." RIA Novosti Russian news agency reports that Kmara activists have been demanding resignation of the autonomy head recently and circulated leaflets protesting against Abshidze's dictatorship in the city of Batumi.
Officials of the Interior Ministry and Security Service of Adzharia detained several people participating in the disorders and conducted searches in apartments of Kmara activists.
Meanwhile, Georgia's central authority objects to infringement of the Constitutional rights of Kmara activists, as it believes the people have the right to voice their opinion.
The Georgian General Prosecutor's Office officially recalled criminal cases initiated against Kmara activists from Batumi. But in spite of it, some representatives of the movement were sentenced to three-month imprisonment before trial at the court of Batumi on January 9.
The Interior Ministry of Adzharia insists that officers withdrew weapons, ammunition and drugs during the searches conducted in apartments of Kmara activists. That was not the first manifestation of the youth movement over the past months. Ex-president of Georgia Eduard Shevardnadze considered the organization one of the basic initiators of his early resignation.
Now, Kmara focuses on Aslan Abashidze. It is not ruled out that in Adzharia the situation may develop not that harmless as it was in Tbilisi in November. There are several reasons for this. First of all, Aslan Abashidze enjoys support of the absolute majority of Adzharia population. Kmara attempts to organize protest actions in the autonomy may end in clashes with the police and supporters of Aslan Abashidze. This in its turn may provoke conflicts between the autonomy authority and Tbilisi that in fact supports the Kmara movement.
For the time being, there is an opportunity to avert open resistance between Adzharia and the central authority. These events are to become the first ordeal for the recently elected president of Georgia Mikhail Saakashvili. Time will show how he can overcome the problem.
Kmara is in fact a rather pugnacious organization. One of the leaders of the Serbian movement Otpor Alexander Maric trained Kmara activists; that allowed him to state that Georgians turned out to be better learners than Ukrainians and Belarussians. As the recent events have revealed, Maric was right.
Photo: Adzharia Leader Aslan Abashidze
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