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Georgia Photos: Celebrating a 12th Century Battle

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Several thousand Georgians attended the Didgoroba festival in the region of Kvemo Kartli near the capital Tbilisi on August 12. The annual gathering on the field of Didgori celebrates a 12th Century victory of Georgian troops against Seljuk Turks.

Playing around an armored military vehicle, many of the people attending wore caps and T-shirts with inscriptions "I ♥ Georgia" and "5", a pre-election campaign slogan and the ballot paper number respectively for the United National Movement, Georgia's ruling party.

This year's gathering appeared to have a more political slant, as police controlling access to the field only allowed "those on the list" to enter, with no mention of what the list was. At one point police stopped, about five kilometers from the Didgori field, several minibuses with young activists from government opposition party Georgian Dream. Several folk art groups refused to perform at the festival as a protest against strong political support of Georgia President Mikheal Saakashvili, who made a speech at the gathering.

Temo Bardzimashvili is a freelance photojournalist based in Tbilisi.

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Georgia Photos: Celebrating a 12th Century Battle

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