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Georgia Punishes Police Over Protest Violence

Riot police beat opposition activists at an antipresidential rally in front of the parliament building in Tbilisi on May 26.
Authorities in Georgia say they have fired or disciplined several police officers accused of using excessive force at an opposition protest in May that ended in the death of at least two people.

The Interior Ministry said four police officers were dismissed and one demoted for their actions in the protest breakup, while another 11 received reprimands.

Riot police used rubber bullets, water cannon, and batons to disperse opposition protesters who had gathered outside the parliament building to call for the ouster of President Mikheil Saakashvili.

At least two people were killed in the protests, although officials have blamed the deaths on an opposition motorcade speeding away from the rally.

Georgia's public defender, Giorgi Tugushi, called today's disciplinary action "important, but not enough."

compiled from agency reports

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