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Opposition Politicians, Activists Held In Tbilisi As Police Dismantle Protest Camp

Lawmaker Nika Melia was among those arrested. (file photo)
Lawmaker Nika Melia was among those arrested. (file photo)

TBILISI -- Dozens of members and supporters of Georgia's opposition United National Movement party (ENM) have been detained as police dismantled a protest camp in downtown Tbilisi.

ENM member Zaal Udumashvili told reporters on June 11 that those detained included lawmaker Nika Melia and Irakli Nadiradze, a member of the city council.

The Interior Ministry said earlier on June 11 that one of the organizers of the antigovernment protest, Zviad Kuprava, and three other protesters were detained on that day for alleged hooliganism and acts of disobedience.

It did not elaborate on the accusations.

Antigovernment rallies started on May 31 as a protest against the guilty verdict in the trial of two young men suspected of killing two teenagers in December.

The protests stopped after June 6, but were resumed on June 10 and the protesters set tents in front of the parliament in Tbilisi.

One of the protest leaders, Zaza Saralidze, who is the father of one of the victims, demanded the immediate release of Kuprava and the other two protesters.

Saralidze also called on Georgians to join the protest on June 11.

Saralidze and his supporters have been demanding the government's resignation, saying they believe people other than the two defendants were responsible for the deaths and escaped punishment because their relatives worked in the Prosecutor-General's Office.

With reporting by

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