The anti-Soviet movement became active in 1988. After several strikes and meetings the conflict between the Soviet government and Georgian nationalists deepened. The protests reached peak on April 4, when tens of thousands of Georgians gathered in a peaceful demonstration and hunger strikes demanding restoration of Georgian independence. Local Soviet authorities lost control over the situation, the USSR leadership was asked to send troops to restore order in the city and impose curfew.
The Soviet troops and Georgian nationalists clashed at the Rustaveli Avenue. The soldiers attacked the demonstrators with spades. The deathly stampede followed the attack of a 16-year-old girl, who tried to get away from the advancing soldiers. She was beaten to death by the soldiers, her mother, who tried to drag her out of the area, was also attacked and wounded. 19 people, among them were 17 women died in the stampede of suffocation caused by body compression and inhalation of chemical substances.
The events of April 9 triggered the protest against the crackdown. A 40-day mourning period was declared in Georgia, Tbilisi and the rest of the country went out on strike.
Nowadays April 9 is Day of National Unity in Georgia. This day honors those people, who died for their fatherland.Remind me with Google Calendar
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