Georgia protests: Friday

This probably won’t be as detailed as [yesterday](’s blogging, but I’ll try to keep an eye on what’s happening in Tbilisi today.
Friday 1300: Overnight, a [few hundred]( protesters maintained a vigil outside the parliament, [blocking]( the street there (( Saakashvili was [scheduled]( to give a speech at 1200; he [refused to step down](, and [called]( for ‘dialogue and sharing responsibility’. [Extracts here]( The opposition have [demanded]( Saakashvili’s resignation before 1600.
1630: [Plans]( to hold riots in more areas around Tbilisi. Saakashvili [proposes]( direct election of mayor of Tbilisi. [Shevardnadze]( “constructive dialogue between the authorities and opposition is impossible
1900: [some leaders]( call for civil disobedience . [More claims]( of roads into Tbilisi being blocked. [Russia]( increasing troop levels in Abkhazia? Gacheciladze, Burjanadze and others [repeat]( calls for Saakashvili to stand down
2000: The opposition groups seem to be splitting up, physically and tactically. At least Levan Gachicheladze and Kakha Kukava (Conservative) are calling for disobedience (without violence – they seem to mean blocking the roads) – see [Telegraph](, [Mosnews](, [RIA-Novosti]( Nino Burjanadze [wants]( to debate Saakashvili live on television.
Sat 0100: Opposition plan [daily blockades]( outside parliament, the presidential residence and the public broadcaster, 3-9 pm. Seeming difference between the protest leaders: Irakli Alasania (former UN ambassador, most popular of the protest leaders) and Nino Burjanadze are calling for dialogue, Levan Gacheciladze and Salome Zourabichvili focus on direct action.
Summary of Thursday: ~50,000 people on almost entirely peaceful protests ([GIPA]( and [RFE/RL]( [report]( some exceptions). ‘Wu Wei’ [writes](
>Our local staff came in this morning with reports that the Opposition was really badly funded compared with previously (from Patarkatsishvili), whereas the Government was really well organised. The Opposition had only paper banners, no free food was provided to keep people there, whereas the government had rounded up a load of taxis and paid them to take people away.

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