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Thousands Rally In Georgia As Protests Continue Over Prison Abuse

The Georgian Dream coalition led by Bidzina Ivanishvili rallied in Zugdidi on September 22.
Georgian media reports say a massive opposition rally has been held in the western city of Zugdidi, as protests over a prison abuse scandal continued in Georgia.

The scandal began after opposition TV channels aired video footage showing the abuse of inmates by prison guards.

It came just days before the October 1 parliamentary election in which President Mikheil Saakashvili's ruling party will face a challenge from an opposition bloc led by billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili.

Ivanishvili, addressing the Zugdidi rally, said the prison-abuse scandal showed "the true face of the Saakashvili regime," but also urged restraint in the run-up to the election.

Student protests were also held on September 22 in the capital, Tbilisi.

Two ministers have resigned over the scandal and Saakashvili has promised an overhaul of the prison system.

Based on reporting by dpa,, and Interfax