|Georgia Charges Anti-Government Demonstrators With Uprising Plan|
|June 02, 2011|
By Helena Bedwell
Georgian authorities said a group of anti-government protesters detained last week are suspected of organizing a military uprising led by Temur Khachishvili, a former interior minister who now lives in Russia.
As many as 24 detainees were charged being part of the plot after anti-government protests in the capital last week turned violent. Several exiled former government officials were also charged, including the husband of opposition leader Nino Burjanadze, Shota Khizanishvili, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said by phone today in Tbilisi.
"These people from Moscow planned a military uprising and a series of violent acts in connection with the recent anti- government rallies," Khizanishvili said, adding that authorities released taped conversations and confessions today.
Five days of rallies in Tbilisi led by opposition leader Burjadze ended with the death of one demonstrator and a police officer, while at least 19 people were injured on May 26, when police used water cannons, rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse protesters. As many as 90 people were arrested, the Interior Ministry said.
The Georgian opposition has repeatedly called on President Mikheil Saakashvili, 43, to resign and call presidential and parliamentary elections. They accused him of rigging elections, repressing dissenters and failing to raise living standards.
Last week’s protests were sparked by rising food and energy costs, threatening a return of violence that led the government to declare a state of emergency in 2007, which was criticized by NATO and the European Union.
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