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PACE Urges 'Restraint, Calm' From Georgian Authorities, Opposition


Georgian opposition politicians make a public statement in Tbilisi on March 27, indicating their intentions to have peaceful protests to call for Saakashvili's ouster.

Georgian opposition politicians make a public statement in Tbilisi on March 27, indicating their intentions to have peaceful protests to call for Saakashvili's ouster.

Two co-rapporteurs from the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) are calling on Georgian authorities and opposition protesters to exercise restraint during major antigovernment protests scheduled for April 9.

Mikheil Saakashvili
"It is essential for Georgia that the planned protest rallies...take place in a calm and peaceful manner without violence or provocations," Mátyás Eörsi of Hungary and Kastriot Islami of Albania said at the end of a fact-finding visit to the country

Citing the "tense environment and ongoing political polarization" in the country, Eorsi and Islami are recommending that law-enforcement agencies and protest organizers "urgently engage" in talks on the security arrangements for the rallies.

"Such dialogue can contribute to an increased mutual confidence which will minimize the possibility of violence or provocations," the statement says.

The April 9 protest -- organized by 13 opposition parties -- coincides with the 20th anniversary of a brutal crackdown by Soviet troops against independence demonstrators in Tbilisi.

Oppositioin parties say the protest will be peaceful and is aimed at forcing Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili to resign.

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