Every year at 4 in the morning, people show up in front of parliament to commemmorate the events on April 9, 1989. (Photo: Interpressnews.)

TBILISI, DFWatch – April 9 is 21 year anniversary for the restoration of Georgia’s independence and 23 years since the Soviet Union used soldiers to disperse a peaceful protest in Tbilisi.

Georgian society, government and opposition remembered this day on Rustaveli Avenue today, at the site where the historic events took place.

In the morning of April 9, 1989, Soviet armed forces dispersed a rally in front of what is now the parliament building in the center of Tbilisi. The protesters’ demand was to separate Georgia from the Soviet Union.

As the soldiers attacked the crowd, 20 people died. Thousands also were poisoned by gas, the composition of which is still unknown.

On April 9, 1991, the Supreme Council of those times Georgia’s Act of Restoration of State Independence, which became the legal basis for Georgia’s international recognition.

Independence was announced on the basis of a referendum on March 31, 1991, which resulted in 98 per cent affirming that they wanted to restore the country’s independence. The referendum included people who lived in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, regions which later became disputed.

Every year, the government, opposition and people mark this day on Rustaveli Avenue at 4:00 am, by gathering in front of parliament at the spot where the violence happened.