“All against one” – that’s the chant voiced by thousands of people leading a new wave of anti-government protests that have convulsed Georgia’s capital.
Police used tear gas against protesters who gathered near the barricaded parliament in Tbilisi on Monday, a day after an estimated 20,000 people demonstrated in search of snap elections. Opposition parties called on people to take to the streets after parliamentarians from the ruling Georgian Dream party voted against legislation to create a new proportional voting system – the very measures that they publicly supported in June following a series of summer protests.
The demonstrators say they are ready for the long haul and are insistent that proportional representation is essential to having fair parliamentary elections in 2020. The ruling Georgian Dream party took more than three-quarters of seats in 2016’s parliamentary elections with less than half of the popular vote. Meanwhile discontent is brewing over the amount of power held by Georgian Dream leader Bidzina Ivanishvili, the country’s richest man and who made his fortune in Russia – a country that stormed the breakaway Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia during a short, sharp 2008 war. The recent visit of a Russian politician to Georgia’s parliament and his subsequent speech from the parliamentary speaker’s chair was met with widespread anger.
We’ll ask what lies in store for Georgia amid the latest round of protests.
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