Tbilisi, Georgia: At least 120,000 Georgians went out on the streets on Monday in support of the country’s EU member state bid, after the European Commission recommended that Tbilisi’s candidacy be postponed. Waving the flags of Georgia, Ukraine, and the EU, demonstrators flooded the main roads of Georgia’s capital Tbilisi on Monday night.

At least 120,000 people participated in Tbilisi’s “European March”, the largest demonstration in decades, according to AFP estimates based on video footage shot from drones. At the demonstration, many placards with the words “We are Europe” were held as the EU national anthem “Eau de to Joy”. The rally was initiated by a major democracy promotion group in the Black Sea countries and was endorsed by all opposition parties to “show the Georgian people’s commitment to European choices and Western values.”

“Europe is a historic choice and a Georgian desire that has been sacrificed by all generations,” the rally organizer said on Facebook. One of the organizers, rights activist Shota Digmelashvili, read aloud the manifesto announcing another rally on Friday and the start of a “new popular movement” dominated by civil activists, including opposition parties.

“We will formulate a demand for government, and if it is not met, the power of nonviolent resistance will wipe out all those who derail Georgia from the European road,” he said. “Popular anger will be directed at the oligarch’s Vizina Ivanishvili (the founder of the ruling party),” he said, calling for an attack in Georgia, despite having no official political role. Believed.

“European perspective”

“All Georgians must take personal responsibility in order for Europe’s hopes to come true,” said Malkhaz Kharbedia, a 47-year-old writer who was one of the demonstrators. “Today we are on the streets because our time for personal responsibility, effort, unwavering will, and patience has become dependent on ourselves, not on anyone else. It came out, “he told AFP.

Another demonstrator, biologist Lili Nemsad, 68, said, “Denying Georgia as an EU (member) candidate means that we remain in Russia’s sphere of influence.” Stated. “Putin will interpret this as a green light to invade Georgia again,” Russian President Vladimir said.

Georgia’s bid for accession to both the EU and NATO, which is stipulated in the national constitution, has long offended the Kremlin and increased tensions with Russia’s invasion of Georgia in 2008. “We will be back (by the end of 2022) to assess how we meet a number of conditions before Georgia is given the status of a candidate,” Chisinau said.

The Commission also recommended giving Georgia a “European perspective”. This is what Prime Minister Ursula von der Leyen called a “major step forward” on the road to Georgia’s accession. “The door is wide open,” she added. “The faster the delivery, the faster the progress.” On Monday, the EU chief specified that more reforms needed to be implemented before Georgia could join the block.

“Deoligoization”

Georgia’s ruling Georgia Dream Party said it “regrets” that the country, along with Ukraine and Moldova, was not recommended as a candidate. Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili welcomed “the historic decision to recognize Georgia’s European perspective” on Friday and promised to work with Brussels to “implement all requirements and win candidate status”. ..

Georgian Dream Government is facing growing international criticism of the perceived recession of democracy, severely damaging the relationship between Tbilisi and Brussels. The European Commission has stated that the conditions that Tbilisi must meet in order to be placed in a formal membership pass are the end of political polarization, the development of media freedom, judicial and electoral reform, and “non-religious”. Said to be included.

Earlier this month, the European Parliament passed a non-binding resolution, imposing personal sanctions on Georgia’s wealthiest man, Ivanishvili, for his “destructive role” in Georgia’s politics and economy. I asked.

Ivanishvili claims he has retired from politics. Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova have signed a coalition agreement with the EU aimed at bringing them closer economically and politically. The agreement also includes free trade agreements between countries and the EU, as well as national visa-free travel for short stays in the Schengen area. However, we do not guarantee final membership. – AFP

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