Monday, January 14, 2008

10,000 or 100,000?

Estimating crowd sizes is a thorny endeavor, particularly in a country where they like to play fast and loose with numbers.

In our report on yesterday's rally, we pegged the number of protesters at "more than 10,000."

I stand by that estimate (I think 15,000 demonstrators was the maximum), arrived at through loose heuristics like average crowd density figures and calculating the area of Freedom Square. But there was considerable debate in our office about the turnout, and some readers have called to ask about or challenge the number.

Opposition leaders claimed 100,000, and rumors circulated that a satellite imaging company added up more than twice that. International media, meanwhile, tended to report the only quotable estimates they had -- local police, the usual source for turnout estimates, had nothing to say, meaning the opposition's rhetorical figures are all that get into print.

There aren't really any reliable methods available to us, besides eyeballing it and doing some rough calculations. But as one now-departed wag put it, the November demonstrations have suddenly turned us all into experts on estimating crowd size.

So how many people do you think were at the January 13 protest?


At January 14, 2008 at 5:51 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

According to Dutch media 80.000, but the Dutch media also believes Badri is the most important opposition candidate with the highest number of votes after Saakasvilli.

At January 14, 2008 at 9:27 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

there may have been more than 10,000 but 100,000 is far too many. any time an estimate is released by the group protesting you know that it will be way to high

At January 15, 2008 at 3:26 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe it was around 150,000 ...

At January 16, 2008 at 3:59 PM , Anonymous jibs said...

There must be a way to count those numbers. satelite? Maybe.

How many people were there in November 2003? Those were estimates too?

What is upsetting is when the authorities dismiss those numbers as irrelevant or demean them to a "few thousands". Then they argue that a few thousands can't go against the "will of people".

Also, it was unually freezing and many couldn't go out in the streets, or travel from the regions.

It is the authorities that got themselves in this mess -- if there were courts that could be trusted, than all the allegations could be investigated. But no, it appears the "reforms" have plummeted the social confidence level towards courts to 15%!

Why are not the cameras in the polling stations examined? When a protocol says 2,000 people came to vote and that puts a person at every 12 seconds, the video cameras could help.

What does this have to do with "youth" or "fragility" of the Georgian democracy? Those violations look very intended to me. Why are these claims not investiagted?

The elections were to dispell all the doubt about Saakashvili's legitimacy. Therefore, they had to be flawless. That OSCE dubbed them "broadly democratic" means nothing unless it is compared to Kenya. Would someone say in Estonia, tolarate such violations? No they would not.

At January 17, 2008 at 9:45 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

a few thousand cannot go against the will of the people, but neither can 100,000. that just isn't a large enough portion of the population to make a judgment about the will of the people


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