Protesters wave a European Union flag during a rally in support of Georgia's EU membership in Tbilisi on July 3, 2022.
Tens of thousands of pro-European activists protested again on Sunday in the capital of Georgia, Tbilisi, to demand the resignation of the government, accused of having failed to obtain candidate status for the European Union. .
Protesters, who blocked traffic on the capital's main thoroughfare, waved European and Georgian flags as well as placards reading We are the ;Europe, noted AFP journalists.
All opposition formations and several pro-European organizations had called for demonstrations to increase pressure on the ruling party, Georgian Dream, accused of authoritarian drift and of having deteriorated relations with Brussels .
“We demand that the oligarch Bidzina Ivanishvili [founder of the Georgian Dream, Editor's note] relinquish executive power and transfer it, respecting the Constitution, to a government of national unity.
— Opposition parties in a Facebook post
A new government must carry out the reforms requested by the EU, which will automatically give us the candidate status for EU membership, continues the text.
Today we begin a new phase of our demonstrations: we will remain united, hammered the organizers.
On June 23, European leaders said they were ready to grant candidate status to Georgia, the target in 2008 of a Russian armed offensive, but only once deep reforms have been carried out.
This decision was followed by demonstrations against the Georgian Dream, in which it was demanded that Bidzina Ivanishvili – considered the strongman of the country, even if he was not; has no more official political office – loose power.
Georgia, which borders the Black Sea, applied to join the EU along with Ukraine and Moldova, two other ex-Soviet republics, days after the Kremlin attacked Ukraine, February 24.
On June 23, European leaders granted this status to kyiv and Chisinau but not to Tbilisi while recognizing the European perspective of the Georgia.
Georgia's future is within the EU, assured the President of the European Council, Charles Michel.
This announcement was hailed as historic by Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili. We are ready to work with determination in the coming months to obtain candidate status, she wrote on Twitter.
However, Brussels is asking Tbilisi for reforms to strengthen justice, freedom of the press, the electoral system, and to fight against the oligarchs in a country regularly shaken by political crises.
Prime Minister Irakli Garibachvili, of the Dream party Georgian, assured that his government was mobilized to carry out these reforms and to obtain candidate status as soon as possible.
Georgia wants to join the EU and the ;NATO for years. Against the background of these ambitions, a short war opposed it in 2008 to Russia, which immediately recognized the independence of two Georgian separatist territories.