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Georgian Police Use Water Cannons To Disperse Election Protest


Police spray the crowd of protesters with water on November 8.

TBILISI -- Police have used water cannons outside Georgia's Central Election Commission office to disperse protesters who were demanding the resignation of the commission head and new parliamentary elections.

RFE/RL journalists on the scene said they heard no warning on November 8 before police began spraying several hundred protesters who had pledged to remain outside the building until their demands were met.

Georgian law requires police to warn civilians before using water cannons.

Earlier in the afternoon, thousands of protesters gathered to hear opposition leaders issue the demands.

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On November 2, Davit Bakradze, a leader of the opposition European Georgia party, said the October 31 legislative elections "were neither free nor fair" and that his party did not accept the official results.

Earlier the United National Movement (ENM), the largest opposition party, also rejected the election results, which handed the ruling Georgian Dream party its third consecutive election victory.

Georgian Dream, founded by billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, received 48.15 percent, while ENM's bloc had 27.14 percent and European Georgia, led by a number of former ENM members, was third with 3.78 percent.

Turnout was said to have been 56 percent.

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