Today, Georgia celebrates the 105th anniversary of the declaration of the first independent democratic republic. Ceremonial events are taking place in 15 other municipalities along with Tbilisi. The President of Georgia, Salome Zurabishvili, addressed the citizens at the ceremony in Tbilisi’s Freedom Square; Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili, Speaker of Parliament Shalva Papuashvili and Minister of Defence Juansher Burchuladze gave speeches and congratulated the citizens on Independence Day. After that, recruits in 10 regions of Georgia and Tbilisi simultaneously took the military oath, civil.ge
Since, unlike last year, the European flag was not used at the official Independence Day events, a group of civil activists, opposition politicians and ordinary citizens organized a “flag march” under the slogan “Georgia chooses Europe” from the Rustaveli monument to the parliament today. The participants marched holding European flags in their hands. They told the media that the police did not allow them to move to Freedom Square, where the official ceremonial part of the event took place, and one of the citizens told the publication “Netgazeti” that the law enforcement officers did not allow them to enter the square under the pretext that they were holding a rally at the same time as the event. “I am an ordinary citizen, the reason was probably that I am holding a [European] flag,” one of the march participants said. According to media reports, police arrested one participant in the march.
The President of Georgia, Salome Zurabishvili, began her speech by paying tribute to the Georgian Defence Forces, saying that they were “the cornerstone of the country’s independence and sovereignty” and that they had shown many examples of dedication and professionalism in peacekeeping missions abroad. “We all pay our respects to all the heroes who have fallen for Georgia’s independence and territorial integrity,” the President said.
She stressed that Georgians have always known the price of freedom and peace and have managed to preserve their language. he devoted a large part of her speech to the past experiences of Georgians fighting for their freedom and independence, including during the Russian Empire and Soviet occupation, and the sacrifices made in this struggle. Zurabishvili stressed this “national day of dignity” cannot be taken for granted and that no one could ever annihilate the thirst for independence and freedom in a Georgian.
Stressed the importance of hope, the President noted that hope is born when we see that Georgians in the occupied territories “cope with all kinds of harassment and are renounce neither the Georgian language nor the Georgianness.” She also said that what strengthens the hope is the Georgian society, “which at the right time has shown the world its unity, integrity, solidarity with Ukraine, tolerance, and loyalty to the European choice and its values.
Addressing citizens at home and abroad, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili acknowledged the historical importance of the day, which marks 105 years since Georgia declared its independence as a Democratic Republic.
Prime Minister Garibashvili congratulated those who associate this day with national pride, personal dignity, and happiness. He warmly greeted “our brothers and sisters living in the temporarily occupied territories – our Abkhazian and Ossetian compatriots.”
He thanked the foreign friends and strategic partners celebrating Independence Day with Georgia today and acknowledged their invaluable support.
Prime Minister Garibashvili emphasized the memory of those who passed on the love of freedom through generations and paid tribute to those who sacrificed their lives for the country.
Garibashvili noted that in the short period of independence, the Georgian people and their government laid the foundations of a democratic, European state based on Western values. He emphasized the progressive nature of the spirit and constitution of that era, even by today’s European standards, saying: “in our time, we renewed the movement towards the supreme goal of all generations – towards the freedom of each citizen, the Georgian people as a whole, Georgia as a country.”
Garibashvili emphasized the importance of forging a “national, unique, and independent” path. He described freedom as a state where domestic and foreign policies are implemented in the people’s best interest, with guaranteed political and social rights. The Prime Minister also emphasized the role of strong families in maintaining the strength of the state, saying: “Freedom implies an environment where the strength of each family… is the basis of the state’s strength.”
Referring to Georgia as a country of heroes, he emphasized the special value attached to freedom, quoting Georgian poet Akaki Tsereteli: “It is way better to die in search of freedom, rather than achieve high station in slavery.”