Commenting on opposition demonstrations in interview with TV Imedi on November 28, Bidzina Ivanishvili, Chairman of Georgian Dream gave his assessment of the opposition leaders perseverance and willingness to go to jail for their views.
“It is a tragic situation… I also don’t like that they are directly hitting the wall while they have no chance. They are holding night vigils, backing each other, and lying to each other that if not today “we will win.” They are going all in. They spend enormous energy and damage themselves. Some go to jail for two days, some for a week. Now it is turn of these youngsters. Some have small traumas and some of worse kind. Some have been serving jail terms for years and many more will have to serve such years’ long sentences, but they are willing to go to jail and sacrifice,” says Ivanishvili.
Mr Ivanishvili also said he felt sorry for UNM (by which he means both UNM itself as well as European Georgia).
“It is tragedy for this society that they have not come to senses… If they had someone smart to analyze and say that ‘don’t bang your head against the wall, nothing will work out.” It is regrettable for me. Don’t think that we have to throw UNM somewhere away. No, they are also our citizens. It is sad for me to see their broken heads… wasted minds and energy,” Mr Ivanishvili said.
Up to 200 opposition activists have been arrested at various points with many subjected to excessive administrative fines for “hooliganism.”
Criminal case against Giga Bokeria, European Georgia Board Chairman, was reactivated after five years of complete silence. Gigi Ugulava, European Georgia Secretary General who already spent 3.5 years in what Georgian opposition views as political imprisonment, is again subject to prosecution with one of the old cases reactivated against him.
Mamuka Khazaradze, founder of Georgia’s largest TBC bank and leader of Lelo political movement is charged with an alleged offence dating back 11 years for which he can end up in prison while Nika Gvaramia CEO of Mtavari, an opposition TV is as well on trial together with the TV shareholder and businessman Giorgi Rurua who has already been arrested through, what opposition and lawyers say was planting of a firearm.
Mr Ugulava has also been physically assaulted by a Georgian Dream-linked judo champion, but it was Mr Ugulava who was charged. Georgian Dream maintains groups of wrestlers and former athletes who have been used for violent attacks on opposition leaders and activists at more than few occasions.