ETHNIC ARMENIAN MOVEMENT RALLIES IN SOUTHERN GEORGIA TO DEMAND RELEASE OF LEADER
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Imedi TV, Georgia
27 Oct 06

[Presenter] Supporters of the Javakhk movement are holding a rally in front of the cultural centre in Akhalkalaki [a predominantly ethnic Armenian town in southern Georgia]. The Javakhk members are calling for one of their leaders, Vakhtang (?Chakhalyan), to be released. Chakhalyan was one of those behind the seizure of the local administration building in Akhalkalaki on 8 October. He is being held in Yerevan.

Young people appeared at the rally in special outfits with Armenian flags on their sleeves. Political statements are being made at the rally. [Arab Batoyan, addressing crowd in Russian] Those who want to improve their lives risk being arrested. Today it will be for illegally crossing the border but tomorrow it could be for breathing in too much air. We call on the leaders of Armenia and Georgia not to resolve their problems at the expense of the future of Javakhk [Javakheti] and to take into account the interests of our people. We gathered here to demand the immediate release of illegally detained Chakhalyan. Thank you.

[Artur Polosyan, captioned as Javakhk member, addressing crowd in Russian] In all these years not one job has been created. The government of this country promised to create thousands of jobs in Akhalkalaki to replace those lost when the Russian military base is withdrawn. However, that has not yet happened. That could lead to a tense social and economic situation. It is not possible to resolve social and economic problems in the region just by painting the facades of buildings.