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Georgia: Tolkienesque Clashes on the Streets of Tbilisi

On 21 May, 2011, just days before the 20th anniversary of Georgia declaring its independence from the former Soviet Union, protests organized by the opposition People's Assembly accusing President Saakashvili of monopolizing power became the main focus on social media sites.

As many as 10,000 people, who gathered first at the central Freedom Square, later marched on the Public Broadcaster demanding that the protest be broadcast live.

Channel 2 aired the demonstration, complete with Bella Ciao, an old Italian partisan song that has become almost an anthem for the protests, repeated nearly constantly in the background. An independent journalist who runs his own personal news blog uploaded a video:

The following morning, however, saw the situation turn ugly when protesters clashed with police. Attacking them with plastic flagpoles, the police used rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the crowd and several minor injuries were reported on both sides.

A second clash also occurred when a group of unknown people with similar poles attacked protesters resulting in a minor skirmish on the streets.

While some bloggers reacted to the protests with critical comments, others used more visual ways of expressing themselves, recreating scenes from several famous movies from photos of the events:

The clashes reminded some of Star Wars.

The clashes reminded some of Star Wars.

This image parodying the dwarf from Lord of the Rings was widely shared on Facebook.

This image parodying the dwarf from Lord of the Rings was widely shared on Facebook.

A tongue in cheek representation of a protester as Mel Gibson from the film Braveheart.

A tongue in cheek representation of a protester as Mel Gibson from the film Braveheart.

Some were having fun recreating reality, others seemed simply bored with the latest political developments broadcast live on television:


  • […] this is a Beyonce reference).INSTANT UPDATE: For another great post on the protest take a look at Global Voices Online. AKPC_IDS+="2486,";Related posts:Roundtable: Arab protests and Georgia’s legacyNovember 7, […]

  • […] after midnight, opposition protests in the Georgian capital were disperse. A policeman was reportedly killed, apparently run over by a jeep belonging to an […]

  • […] from the South Ossetia and Abkhazia conflicts. Even so, social media was perhaps better known for ridiculing opposition protesters in May or discussing the visit to Tbilisi by Sharon Stone and the appearance of a Georgian road sign in a […]

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