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Georgian Police Detain Three Involved In Tbilisi Violence

Protesters Block Saakashvili Speechi
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February 08, 2013
Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the Georgian National Library in Tbilisi on February 8 in an attempt to block President Mikheil Saakashvili from entering the building to deliver his last annual address to the nation.

​​WATCH: Protests outside the National Library, where Saakashvili was originally expected to speak.

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Video Saakashvili Gives Controversial Address

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili is giving his annual address in Tbilisi after a day of postponements and amid a growing political crisis in the country.
By RFE/RL
Georgian authorities have fined and released two of three people detained for involvement in a February 8 protest in Tbilisi during which several lawmakers from President Mikheil Saakashvili's party were assaulted.

The two released were identified as Melor Vachnadze and Mikheil Meskhi.

The Tbilisi City Court ordered them to pay fine of 100 lari (some $61) after finding them guilty of minor hooliganism.

Vachnadze said the court "effectively had no evidence, which would show that I or Mikheil Meskhi were breaking the law."

The arrests were part of an investigation into the violence announced by Interior Minister Irakli Gharibashvili.

Some of the 300-strong group of protesters attacked members of Saakashvili's United National Movement party outside the National Library, preventing the president from delivering his national address from the venue.

Reports say many of the protesters had been held in custody for political reasons and were released after Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili's Golden Dream coalition defeated Saakashvili's party in the October election.

Saakashvili had chosen the library venue after the ruling coalition refused to allow him to deliver his scheduled address in parliament.

WATCH: Saakashvili delivers his last annual address
Saakashvili Delivers Last Presidential Address Amid Growing Crisisi
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February 08, 2013
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has delivered his last annual address in office amid a growing political crisis that forced him to change the venue and time of his speech. Earlier, hundreds of protesters gathered outside of the Georgian National Library in Tbilisi in an attempt to block the president from entering the building. Speaking near the library, deputy Giorgy Baramidze said that the protests had been masterminded by Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili and his supporters. Reuters video

Ivanishvili's coalition demanded that Saakashvili accept constitutional changes to reduce his powers before being allowed to speak to lawmakers.

He finally delivered his address from the presidential palace, calling for "cohabitation and cooperation" and rejecting any suggestions that he would seek to dissolve parliament.

"This right [of the president to dissolve the parliament and the cabinet] is rather ephemeral in the constitution," he said, "and I have repeatedly pointed out that I am not going to make any use of that right, especially just a few months after elections. I see all too clearly the political dynamics and I know very well that any kind of attempts to dissolve the government now -- three, four, five months [after elections] -- is self-destructive for a political force that initiates such a move."
 
Richard Norland, the U.S. ambassador to Georgia, has called for calm and dialogue.

Saakashvili finishes his second and final term as president in October. His opponents accuse him of stifling dissent and violating human rights.

With reporting by AP, Reuters, AFP, and RFE/RL's Georgian Service
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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Eugenio from: Vienna
February 10, 2013 15:52
VIDEO - Saakashvili Sinking: Wind of change in Georgia as president loses grip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4dDWaw12g0o&feature=youtube_gdata_player
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
February 11, 2013 11:42
Remembering last Championship Hokey game Russia-USA,
As Russian Varaga-Bolshevics created masterly may-ham,
Scorring well coached washers twice, using their behinds,
As using advantage overthrow nations, keeping it in mind,
It's Russia "Sinking" as in past history, to be condamned.

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