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Georgian Police Break Up Azeri Protest

(RFE/RL) 23 February 2006 -- Reports from Georgia say clashes erupted on 22 February between the police and villagers in the southeastern region of Kvemo Kartli during a rally to demand access to arable land.

The protesters briefly blocked a highway connecting Georgia to Armenia before police dispersed the rally.

Georgia's Rustavi-2 television says security officers assaulted two Azerbaijani reporters who were covering the protest, beating them up, and seizing their equipment. Other reports say up to 15 demonstrators were detained.

Kvemo Kartli is a predominantly Azeri region that borders Azerbaijan. The demonstrators are demanding that they and ethnic Georgians be given equal access to land.

(Rustavi 2, Civil Georgia, Lider TV)

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RFE/RL Caucasus Report

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