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Demonstration on Enguri Bridge

28.09.2006
On September 27, the thirteenth anniversary of Sukhumi’s downfall, peaceful demonstration was held on the Enguri Bridge, the main bridge connecting Gali and Zugdidi districts. Nearly 200 people took part in the demonstration.

The priest from Kashueti Church, Father Konstantine with Orthodox parish from Tbilisi, representatives of different confessions (Judaic, Muslims), Vakhtang (Loti) Kobalia, Commander of the National Guard during late Georgian President Zviad Gamsaxurdia’s Governance, Gamsakhurdia’s supporters and the parish from Zugdidi-Tsaishi Eparchy were at the Enguri Bridge at 15:00 already. The participants wanted to travel to Abkhazia and hold public Prayer in St, George’s Georgian Church in the village of Ilori, Ochamchire district.

On the previous day loti Kobalia and Father Konstantine spread information stating their plans of entering Abkhazia with peaceful intentions. Because of aforementioned reason they applied to Ruslan Kishmaria, the representative of self-proclaimed Abkhazian President to Gali district and asked permission. As L. Kobalia said, The Abkhazians did not refuse, however Kishamria explained them that Sukhumi was to give them permission.

The participants were joined by Zugdidi-Tsaishi Eparchy parish on the Enguri Bridge. They carried Miraculous Icon of The Christ (Anchiskhati) to the bridge. They placed the Icon in Zugdidi Vlakeri’s Godmather;s Church in the morning and the service was held by Zugdid-Tsaishi Eparchy Episcope, Bishop Gerasime in the church on that day. It must be pointed out that neither Bishop Gerasime, nor Eparchy’s priests took part in the demonstration on the bridge.

Having arrived at the bridge the participants were seriously resisted by the soldiers from 301st block post under Russian Peace-keepers and representatives of the UN Military Observers. They severely forbade the demonstrators not only travel to Abkhazian side but also to cross the Russian shlagbaum.

Because of the incident both Father Konstantine and Loti Kobalia made firm statements. “The fact has proved who prevents the process of our making friend with Abkhazian brothers. That is who prevents peace-keeping process. If we reconcile they wouldn’t remain here any more and thus they wouldn’t earn dollars.” Though they could not go to Abkhazia but they held the public service in favor of the killed people, both Georgian and Abkhazian, in Abkhazia on the bridge.

Nato Berulava, Zugdidi

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