Rustaveli Avenue

Remembering 9th April 1989: Gone, but not forgotten

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. 

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

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.

Images of the twenty dead.

Images of the twenty dead.

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

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Mzia Jincharadze

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A year later, on 9 April 1990, Georgia adopted a Declaration of Independence. Today the day is marked with a National Holiday in Georgia.

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flowers strewn in front of the old Parliament Building

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My wife was among those in the square that day, she fled the square and sought refuge in Rustaveli Theatre.

Images from 1989: http://www.rferl.org/a/georgia-soviet-demonstrations/25324233.html

Gone, But Not Forgotten