It stood out in a sea of flags and banners. "Gotov Je," the sign said. "He's finished," it meant. But the message, strangely enough, was in Serbian, not Georgian.

The bloodless "revolution of roses" that toppled Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze on Sunday might have transpired in the streets of Tbilisi, but in a way it was inspired in the streets of Belgrade.

The Georgian opposition movement modeled its campaign on the popular uprising that deposed Yugoslavia's president, Slobodan Milosevic, in October 2000 and even adopted its slogan. Opposition leaders traveled to Belgrade for advice and brought their Serbian counterparts to Tbilisi. Thousands of Georgians were trained in the techniques honed in Belgrade. And the opposition persuaded Georgia's independent television network to air a documentary on the Serbian uprising not once but twice in the last 10 days.

"Most important was the film," said Ivane Merabishvili, general secretary of the National Movement party that led the revolt. "All the demonstrators knew the tactics of the revolution in Belgrade by heart because they showed . . . the film on their revolution. Everyone knew what to do. This was a copy of that revolution, only louder."

Now his camp has won and has to figure out what to do next, only with no film or training program to guide it. The challenges facing interim President Nino Burdzhanadze are daunting, starting with an empty state treasury and a balky regional leader who has declared a state of emergency in his province.

But the first day of her temporary rule brought calm and order back to Tbilisi. The interior minister who stood by Shevardnadze resigned under pressure from the new leadership. The Supreme Court invalidated the discredited Nov. 2 parliamentary elections that touched off the street protests. And Burdzhanadze called for the old Parliament to meet Tuesday to set new elections within 45 days.

After a few hours' sleep, crowds returned to the streets Monday evening, this time for a hastily organized rock concert on the steps of Parliament to celebrate Shevardnadze's downfall under another volley of fireworks. The ousted president remained in seclusion at his leafy, hilltop residence and rejected invitations to retire in Germany.

Even his successors were left a bit bewildered by his absence after so long on Georgia's political scene. "Nobody in this country really knows how to live without Shevardnadze," said Mikhail Saakashvili, head of the National Movement and now arguably the nation's most popular politician. "He's been around for 30 years."

The success of Saakashvili's drive to push Shevardnadze out was evident in a tour of downtown Tbilisi on Monday. There were no troops in the streets, no signs of tension. Shops that closed during three weeks of demonstrations reopened untouched. About the only visible damage was a broken window in Parliament and a shattered glass door at the State Chancellery, the government's headquarters.

The movement proved disciplined and peaceful throughout. After Saakashvili led protesters who burst into government buildings bearing roses, he promptly assigned activists to guard them to prevent looting or destruction. Aside from minor scuffling, street protests involving tens of thousands of people yielded no casualties in a country that descended into civil war during power struggles in the 1990s.

"It was so skillfully done," said Tedo Japaridze, Shevardnadze's national security adviser, who eventually broke with the president and was fired as a result. The opposition, he added in an interview, managed to achieve victory before going too far. "It was minutes before it could have been illegitimate."

Japaridze joined Burdzhanadze at a meeting of security officials Monday, where he agreed to serve her interim leadership and she reaffirmed the country's pro-Western foreign policy. As acting president, Burdzhanadze cannot fire ministers, but she hinted that Minister of State Avtandil Jorbenadze, the top cabinet officer, should step down. Saakashvili more directly called on Interior Minister Koba Narchemashvili to resign, which he did late Monday.

The new leaders handled regional leader Aslan Abashidze more gingerly, however. Abashidze, who heads the autonomous region of Ajaria, declared an emergency in his province and criticized the ouster of Shevardnadze but made no immediate move to secede.

"Revolutions have never brought any benefit to any country," he said on television. "They can only destroy, and such movements are usually led by people who have not brought any good to the nation and use all methods to get into power."

The path to this day started barely 18 months ago when Saakashvili, Merabishvili and other onetime Shevardnadze allies began building a new organization aimed at ending a rule plagued by poverty and corruption. Saakashvili's National Movement quickly signed up 20,000 members eager for change.

They turned to Serbian activists for lessons in how to take on entrenched power. Saakashvili and another major opposition leader, former parliament speaker Zurab Zhvaniya, went to Belgrade for a couple of days to meet with leaders of the democracy movement there and later invited them back to Tbilisi. In May and June, more than 1,500 National Movement members went through two-day training courses in political activism based on what the Serbs had done.

"They studied how to protest, how to organize demonstrations," Merabishvili recalled at party headquarters on Monday. "Our party was ready to make this protest."

In April, a new group called Kmara, or "Enough," was founded to energize disaffected youth. It too offered training courses to about 2,000 recruits based on Serbian advice.

"As Lenin said, to have a successful revolution, you need organization, organization, organization," said Levan Ramishvili, director of a civil rights group called Liberty Institute who helped train young Kmara supporters after consulting with the Serbs. "They helped us to organize." Until now, "we were not organized."

U.S. government-funded programs provided instruction in building independent democratic institutions to any parties in Georgia that wanted it, though nowhere near as actively as in Yugoslavia, where it was targeted at overthrowing Milosevic. "It's safe to say it was a more generic and traditional support of the democratic process in general," said a senior Western diplomat who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The new organizing skills were evident as Saakashvili led protesters into the streets early this month alleging that the parliamentary elections were rigged. Leaders of the movement stationed supporters outside Parliament nearly every day for three weeks. Those who stayed overnight were given a breakfast of bread at the National Movement headquarters, which on many mornings looked like a soup kitchen.

As the denouement approached, the opposition escalated its campaign by sending dozens of buses across the country to bring reinforcements to the capital. By the end, at least 50,000 people were in the streets of Tbilisi, pleading with police and the army to stay neutral or even join them, while building pressure that Shevardnadze ultimately could not resist.

As it turned out, there were two other players from the days in Belgrade in Tbilisi over the weekend: U.S. Ambassador Richard M. Miles, who was the envoy to Yugoslavia until the 1999 Kosovo war, and Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, who flew to Belgrade to urge Milosevic to step down in the face of mass protests, just as he came here to mediate Sunday.

Neither one openly suggested Shevardnadze resign, but both were widely seen as implicitly encouraging opposition leaders and withdrawing support for the beleaguered president. The coincidence was not lost on the Georgians.

"There are," said Saakashvili, "a lot of parallels with Serbia."

A woman kisses a portrait of opposition leader Mikhail Saakashvili in Tbilisi, where residents again celebrated the resignation of Eduard Shevardnadze.Georgia's interim president, Nino Burdzhanadze, called for the old Parliament to meet Tuesday to set new elections within 45 days.