Day of National Unity in Georgia

April 9

Out of all the national holidays, the Day of National Unity in Georgia is perhaps the most somber, for it commemorates the deaths of 21 civilians killed on April 9, 1989, during a peaceful anti-Soviet demonstration.

The Tbilisi Massacre (also the April 9 tragedy or Tbilisi Tragedy) occurred when Red Army soldiers began to disperse thousands of protestors gathered in front of the Government House on Rustaveli Avenue in Tbilisi.

Out of 21 people who died as a result of the brutal intervention, 17 were women, with the youngest victim only 16 year old. Hundreds of activists were injured and required medical attention.

Today, Georgia’s National Day is commemorated by people laying flowers and lighting candles at special sites as they recall these tragic deaths.

The events of April 9 accelerated the Georgians' efforts to become independent from the Soviet Union, and precisely two years later, the country adopted its Declaration of Independence.