Marchers call for Saakashvili to go

Georgia opposition supporters mark anniversary of police crackdown in Tbilisi.

    Most opposition leaders have demanded that Mikhail Saakashvili resign as president [AFP]
     

    "Today once again we must show to the world that we continue our struggle and it will continue until Saakshvili's regime ends", Levan Gochechildaze, a Georgian opposition leader, said on Saturday.

    Tensions high

    The protests in 2007, during which Saakashvili declared a state of emergency and cracked down on independent media caused concern among his Western backers and damaged his image as a democratic reformer.

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    "November 7, two years ago, unmasked Saakashvili and showed the whole world his real face and that we are dealing with authoritarianism, " Gochechildaze said.

    Opposition supporters held daily rallies last spring to demand Saakashvili's resignation, who they accuse of being autocratic and of mishandling last year's Georgia-Russia war.

    They have also called for early presidential and parliamentary elections.

    But the protests steadily dwindled after several weeks and Saakashvili has vowed to stay in office until the end of his second term in 2013.

    While opposition leaders insist on Saakashvili's resignation, they say they are still ready to listen to any ideas the president has for bringing the country together.

    Though tensions have increased in recent days, officials say there will be no repeat of the events of November 2007.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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