“During those days there were many slogans that people chanted. I remember that one that I had joined the day after March 9, when we marched to the Krtsanisi Residence in Tbilisi. Along with protesters I also chanted “Zhu De, Zhu De'' because we knew that on that day the Chinese Communist leader Zhu De was in Tbilisi. However, neither Zhu De, nor any other human came out to talk to us; as if everyone was hiding in their shell,” Lamara recalls.
Declassified top secret documents from the Soviet Union’s Central Committee of the Communist Party indicate it was a wide spread demonstration and soldiers were “forced to use power” to disperse the crowds: “… protesters decided to attack radio station, post office, telegraph, publishing house of the newspaper “Communist”. With the latter attempts, part of the crowd, around 5000 people started marching. Despite numerous warnings from the police or army – they kept on being violent though throwing stones, sticks, breaking windows, attacking security and even wounded several members of armed forces. Soldiers had been forced to use power. 13 have been killed, 63 wounded but 8 of them died later. Due to the fact that allies of (our) enemies have started spreading rumors about March 9 events, Georgia’s Central Committee of the Communist Party in Kutaisi, Batumi, Gori are engaged into sending out members and candidate members to educate citizens about the real essence beyond March events and its political assessment”.
Today, now 87, Lamara can still recall the terrible noise of the approaching soldiers when the crackdown began.
“It was already late evening when I heard a gunshot, but it was so low that people did not pay that much attention; however, little did we know that it would be followed by an intensive gunshots and rifle.”
Lamara and her best friend ran away from shooting and went into hiding, just like many other young people on that day. When she did not return home, her family feared she had been hurt or arrested. The next morning, people were looking for their friends, sisters, brothers or relatives.
“We heard that casualties were much higher than people could have thought. I remember the famous actress Leila Abashidze, who was standing next to the morgue as she tirelessly searched for her brother,” Lamara recalls.