Remembering 9th April 1989…30 years on

9th April is a national holiday in Georgia.

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floral tribute

On 9 April 1989, 30 years ago, Soviet troops attacked Georgian demonstrators with clubs and sharpened spades outside the Parliament Building in Rustaveli Avenue. The clashes left 20 people dead, mainly young women.

 

9th April 1989. The Berlin Wall was still standing, the Ceausescus were still breathing and events in Tbilisi which included hunger strikes reached a climax. The events of 9 April 1989 were the culmination of weeks of demonstrations for Georgian independence and against separatism of Abkhazia.

The demonstrations were mostly peaceful. At their peak, about 10,000 people are estimated to have been present.

An hour before the attack the Georgian Patriarch, Ilia II, begged the crowds to leave the Square.

 

Minutes before 4am on 9 April, General  Radionov told his troops, who had been requested by Jumber Pastiashvili, first secretary of the Georgian Communist Party, to clear the square, in front of the Georgian government building, on Rustaveli Avenue, by all means available. The Soviet troops attacked the demonstrators with clubs and sharpened spades. The clashes left 20 people dead, mainly young women.

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My wife, then just 21, was among the demonstrators in the square that day, she fled the square with her cousin, Tsira, fearing for their lives, they sought refuge in Rustaveli Theatre.

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Khachkar (or Armenian cross stone) memorial to the  innocent victims of Tbilisi’s April 9, 1989 crackdown outside Ejmiastin Armenian Church, Avlabari, Tbilisi.

Photos of the events can be seen here: April 9, 1989: Soviet Crackdown In Tbilisi

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