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Third day of Ukraine protests in Georgia as debate continues on Government response

27 February 2022
Thousands gathered outside parliament in Tbilisi on 26 February to protest Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Photo: Mariam Nikuradze/OC Media.

Thousands of people in Georgia have hit the streets for a third day to protest Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as well as their own government’s lack of action.

On Saturday, demonstrations took place in Tbilisi, Kutaisi, and Batumi.

The demonstration in the capital, organised by the opposition and non-governmental groups, was followed by a concert ‘Voice from Georgia’, in which well-known Georgian musicians including Nino Katamadze and Nikoloz Rachveli performed. 

The Georgian Government has faced criticism both at home and in Ukraine for not taking a stronger stance against Russia.

Photo: Mariam Nikuradze/OC Media.
Photo: Mariam Nikuradze/OC Media.
Photo: Mariam Nikuradze/OC Media.

In a thinly veiled barb aimed at the Georgian Government on Saturday morning, Ukrainian Preisdent Volodymyr Zelensky thanked Georgians for coming out to the streets, adding that ‘there are times when citizens are not the Government, but better the Government’.

On Thursday Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili told reporters that he would not introduce sanctions against Russia, justifying the decision by the country’s ‘national interests’, while the central bank announced aid to the Georgian branch of sanction-hit VTB bank.

On Saturday, the Government changed their tone somewhat, announcing they had allocated ₾1 million ($315,000) to purchase medical supplies for people affected by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

The Shame Movement claimed this was a direct result of the protests.

President Zurabishvili, who has been more vocal than members of the ruling Georgian Dream Party in her condemnation of Russia’s invasion, spoke with President Zelensky on Saturday.

According to the Ukrianian President, ‘concrete assistance was discussed’.

Also on Saturday, Georgian hackers claimed responsibility for taking down the websites of the Chechen Government, Russian Ministry of Economy, Russian state-owned VTB bank, and Georgian far-right group Alt-info — a group that frequently expresses pro-Russian talking points. 

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