Hundreds of protesters calling for the resignation of Georgia’s government have camped outside parliament in Tbilisi ahead of a meeting today between their movement’s leaders and Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili.
Tens of thousands of pro-European protesters took to the streets of the Georgian capital again yesterday, Sunday, demanding the resignation of the government, which they accuse of failing to get the country a candidate for EU membership.
In the evening, more than 35,000 protesters had gathered in front of the parliament, blocking traffic on Tbilisi’s main thoroughfare and holding EU and Georgian flags, as well as banners reading “We are Europe”.
All opposition parties and many pro-European organizations have called for a demonstration aimed at increasing pressure on the ruling party, Georgian Dream, which is accused of authoritarian tendencies and of worsening the country’s relations with Brussels.
“We ask the oligarch Bindzina Ivanishvili (so-called founder of the Georgian Dream) to resign from executive power and transfer it, respecting the Constitution, to a government of national unity,” they said in a statement posted on Facebook before demonstration.
A new government should “proceed with the reforms requested by the EU which would automatically give us the status of a candidate country”, the text continued.
According to 45-year-old surgeon Nika Gorgaslindze, who is participating in the protests, “Ivanishvili is pulling the strings of the government, the parliament, the courts, the media: it is an undemocratic system that is not in line with Georgia’s goal of becoming a member of the EU.” .
On June 23, European leaders said they were “ready to grant candidate country status” to Georgia, once it has made important reforms.
The decision was followed by anti-Georgian Dream protests in the country, during which protesters called on Ivanishvili, who is considered the country’s strongest man despite not currently holding a government position, to step down. .
Georgia applied to join the EU along with Ukraine and Moldova. On June 23, Brussels granted candidate country status to the latter two, but not to Georgia.
“Georgia’s future is within the EU,” European Council President Charles Michel had assured.
Brussels has asked Tbilisi for reforms to strengthen justice, press freedom, the electoral system and fight oligarchs.
Prime Minister Garibashvili, of Georgian Dream, assured that his government is “mobilized” to implement the reforms.