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Georgia: Shevardnadze Declares Emergency As Opposition Names Interim President

Tbilisi, 22 November 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze (pictured) has declared a state of emergency following what he called an attempted "coup d'etat." In live televised comments Shevardnadze said, "We have to bring order to the country."

The announcement came after opposition supporters seized control of the parliament today after weeks of protests against disputed election results.

Shortly after Shevardnadze's statement, the opposition declared one of its leaders, Nino Burdjanadze, as interim president.

Shevardnadze was earlier whisked out of parliament by bodyguards after demonstrators forced open the door of the chamber and stormed in as he was giving a speech before the opening session of the newly elected parliament.

Opposition leader Mikhail Saakashvili told the chamber, "The velvet revolution has taken place in Georgia."

The opposition has been protesting the 2 November parliamentary elections, which they say was rigged in favor of political parties loyal to Shevardnadze.