REVOLUTION: A means by which individuals or elites seek to gain political power in a state through extralegal (violent or nonviolent) means, with the active support of some segments of the general population, although usually not a majority (majority are silent). Revolutions that take place without much popular support are often called rebellions, revolts, or insurrections. The revolution may have the goal of replacing the existing government, or to alter some governmental institutions or processes, or to replace the politico-economic system with a new one.
The VELVET REVOLUTION (November 16 – December 29, 1989) refers to a non-violent revolution in Czechoslovakia that saw the overthrow of the Socialist government there; it is seen as one of the most important of the Revolutions of 1989.
On November 17, 1989, a peaceful student demonstration in Prague was suppressed by riot police. That event sparked a series of popular demonstrations from November 19 to late December. By November 20 the number of peaceful protesters assembled in Prague had swelled from 200,000 the previous day to an estimated half-million. A two hour general strike, involving all citizens of Czechoslovakia, was held on November 27.
The ROSE REVOLUTION was a peaceful revolution in the country of Georgia in 2003 that displaced President Eduard Shevardnadze. Georgia had been governed by Eduard Shevardnadze since 1992 (President of Georgia since 1995). His government – and his own family – became increasingly associated with pervasive corruption that hampered Georgia's economic growth. Georgia held parliamentary elections on November 2, 2003 which were denounced by local and international observers as being grossly rigged in favor of Shevernadze. Mikheil Saakashvilli claimed that he had won the elections (a claim supported by independent exit polls). Saakashvilli and the united opposition accepted ISFED's PVT as "official" results, and urged Georgians to demonstrate against Shevardnadze's government and engage in nonviolent civil disobedience against the authorities. The main democratic opposition parties united to demand the ouster of Shevardnadze and the rerun of the elections. In mid-November, massive anti-governmental demonstrations started in the central streets of Tbilisi, soon involving almost all major cities and towns of Georgia. The "Kmara" ("Enough!") youth organization (a Georgian counterpart of the Serbian "Otpor") and several NGOs, like the Liberty Institute, were active in all protest activities. Shevardnadze’s government was backed by Aslan Abashidze, the semi-separatist leader of autonomous Ajara region, who sent thousands of his supporters to hold a pro-governmental counter-demonstration in Tbilisi. The opposition protest reached its peak on November 22, the day of an opening session of a new parliament, which was considered illegitimate. The same day, opposition supporters led by Saakashvili with roses in their hands (hence the name Rose Revolution) seized the parliament building interrupting a speech of President Eduard Shevardnadze and forcing him to escape with his bodyguards. He later declared a state of emergency and began to mobilize troops and police near his residence in Tbilisi. However, the elite military units refused to support the government. In the evening of November 23 (St George's Day in Georgia), Shevardnadze met with the opposition leaders Saakashvili and Zurab Zhvania to discuss the situation, in a meeting arranged by Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov. After the meeting, the president announced his resignation. That prompted euphoria in the streets of Tbilisi. More than 100,000 protesters celebrated the victory all night long, accompanied by fireworks and rock concerts.