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Georgia: Communists Protest Proposed Ban Of Their Party

Tbilisi, 6 March (RFE/RL) -- Hundreds of members of Georgia's communist party gathered in the birthplace of Stalin yesterday to protest a recent move to ban their party. The party's leader told several hundred people gathered in Gori that banning the party would disgrace the country. The ban was recently proposed by Georgian Justice Minister Mikhail Saakashvili. Yesterday, Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze said he was opposed to banning any political party as long as it does not violate the country's constitution. He said Communist slogans, however, "do cross that line."

Georgian officials have been especially angered by communist calls to reintegrate the ex-Soviet republics around Russia.