On Slate, my friend Daria Vaisman has an excellent analysis of the current situation in Georgia.
But even those of us who understand that change comes slowly, that poverty is hard to cure, that inflation is often inevitable, and that sometimes you just might need to crack a few eggs (though not heads) were shocked by the heavy-handed response to Wednesday's protests. I was at the demonstration at Mtkvari when a friend called to warn me that hundreds of special forces were coming my way. People panicked and began to run. Special forces came from both bridges that flanked the area, leaving protestors with no way out. People were hit with tear gas and rubber bullets, and some of us ran for shelter on a small cafe boat moored along the river. An older man who worked there tried to calm people down. "Don't worry," he said, "I used to be a policeman. Nothing will happen to you." Two men tried to get the engine going. "We'll sail away if we have to," the former policeman said. But where to?