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Police Clash With Protesters At Tbilisi Parade


WATCH: Georgian opposition protesters in Tbilisi clash with riot police.

Riot police have clashed briefly with stone-throwing protesters in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, as tensions rise in Georgia ahead of local elections.

Police with truncheons pushed back a crowd of several hundred antigovernment protesters today during a police parade addressed by President Mikheil Saakashvili on the outskirts of the capital. Opposition leaders say three people were injured.

Saakashvili addressed the ceremony outside the Interior Ministry's headquarters, where some 4,000 police marched and armored vehicles drove in formation.

"I'd like to let those itching to restore the Soviet empire, I'd like them all to know, that the Soviet Union era is over in Georgia," Saakashvili said.

"But the Soviet empire is of course attacking us. This empire, which is something we thought was a dead body, has started to show signs of life again and is trying to invade those parts that used to be Soviet previously."

The May 30 local elections are the first poll since Georgia's brief war with Russia in 2008. Saakashvili's popularity has been dwindling since the war, in which Georgia suffered a defeat from Russia for which the opposition blamed Saakashvili.

Reuters
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