Garibashvili: November 7 was worst day of our recent history

  • Eight years ago today police dispersed anti-government protesters in Tbilisi using tear gas and water cannons., 7 Nov 2015 - 16:31, Tbilisi,Georgia

November 7 is one of the hardest days of Georgia’s recent history, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili says.

In today’s Facebook post, the PM said this date would always remain as a symbol of the fight for fairness and freedom of expression.

"I believe that, in accordance with our fundamental principles, we, together, wisely and step by step will create a better future for our country,” Garibashvili wrote.

Eight years ago today a series of anti-government protests took place across Georgia and ended with protesters being dispersed by the police who used tear gas and water cannons. A total of 508 people were taken to hospital when riot police dispersed thousands of protesters in various parts of Tbilisi.

Demonstrations started on September 28, 2007. It peaked on November 2 when up to 100,000 people gathered in front of the Parliament building in Tbilisi. Protesters urged then-president Mikheil Saakashvili to step down. The protests were organised by a coalition involving major oppositional political parties.

At the time Saakashvili accused the Russian Secret Service of being involved in an attempted coup d’etat. He declared a nationwide state of emergency that lasted for 15 days.

Meanwhile earlier on November 7, 2007, riot police attacked Tbilisi-based Imedi TV while the news program was live on air. Police officers in masks and carrying assault rifles were seen sealing off the office. The broadcaster, which the government claimed was biased and pro-oppositional, was subsequently switched off.

The next day Saakashvili announced an early presidential election for January 5, 2008, as a compromise to the solution.

The then-government was criticised for using heavy-handed tactics against protesters.

November 2007 was evaluated as the worst political crisis in Georgia since the Rose Revolution in 2003.