Opposition Protests, Day 20

The "Town of Cells"

The "Town of Cells"

Went for a walk down Rustaveli today and took some pictures of the continuing protests.  There were handfuls of people loitering about, gnawing sunflower seeds and chatting in groups; several of the cells now have the appearance of having been lived in a while–rumpled makeshift beds, bottles of water and booze, baskets of bread, and posters and written slogans adorning the outsides. This picture is just outside the Tbilisi Marriott, visible in the background on the left.

Protesters from Kutaisi.

Protesters from Kutaisi.

It’s hard to get an accurate idea of what momentum the demonstrations still have; there were certainly no more than two or three hundred people in or directly around the cells–the square in front of the parliament itself was completely empty–though some people say it gets more lively in the evenings.  People living in Tbilisi appear to be getting rather tired of the disruptions, both to traffic and to some of the bizarre little eddies of protest that swirl around the main events. A number of the businesses on Rustaveli–the cinema, for instance–also appear to have closed because of the protests.

From Poti.

From Poti.

One such incidental, peripheral demonstration, reported a few days ago in Novosti-Gruziya (thanks to Tim for this tidbit), involved picketing the Georgian Football Federation “to conduct a protest action there” against the poor performances of the national football team.  The point seems to have been to assign responsibility for the team’s poor record to the powers higher up who appointed the current president of the Federation.  Irakli Melashvili, leader of the “National Forum” opposition party who called for the protest, is quoted as saying “We must express our anger with what is going on in this sphere. We should express protest at the scandalous appointment of the president of the Federation and find out why our team is losing to the weakest teams of the world.”

Dr. Dot!

Dr. Dot!

A few weeks ago the expat community here was chuckling over the blog of Dr. Dot, an American masseuse who posted lengthy and rather silly accounts of her visit to Georgia, at Misha’s invitation, to perform her massages.  Now the opposition has turned one of her pictures into a poster framed with the ubiquitous opposition slogan “რატომ?” (“why?”).  Friends tell they’ve become much sought after by amused expats.

Pictures of the August war.

Pictures of the August war.

At one end of the ‘town of cells’, by the national theater, two cells have been converted into an exhibition space of photographs, mostly of the war, interspersed with comments in Georgian and “MISHA DID IT!” in English.

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