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Police crackdown on protesters in Tblisi

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 - 01:48

May 26 - Demonstrators are detained after violent protests in the Georgian capital Tblisi. Julie Noce reports.

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EDIT CONTAINS 4:3 MATERIAL Bloodied and swollen... protesters are picked up by an ambulance from streets of Tblisi, the Georgian capital. For a fifth straight night, demonstrators calling for the resignation of President Mikheil Saakashvili have clashed with police. Some protesters used sticks and shields to fight the officers... others were beaten themselves. And by the end of the night... several protesters ended up like this.. face down, handcuffed on the pavement as police cleared the square. One policeman was killed in the violence... this video reportedly showing the moment he was hit by a convoy of demonstrators hastily leaving the demonstration site. Police say their violence was justified. (SOUNDBITE) (English) INTERIOR MINISTRY SPOKESMAN SHOTA UTIASHVILI SAYING: "The police had to use force. Part of the demonstrators resisted violently. Part of the demonstrators fled from the scene with the cars through the crowd, which caused unfortunately death of one policeman." The opposition leader Nino Burjanadze says Saakashvili has monopolised power since 2003. Once a supporter of Saakashvili, Burjanadze adds the police violence against the protests is an act of revenge. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) FORMER PRESIDENT'S ALLY AND PARLIAMENT SPEAKER, NOW OPPOSITION LEADER NINO BURJANADZE, SAYING: "There a lot of injured people because the authorities conducted, how to say it... a punitive operation. It was not an action aimed at as they say to "free the square", it was purely a punitive operation." Officials say plans to celebrate the country's independence day on Thursday will proceed as scheduled. Julie Noce, Reuters

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Police crackdown on protesters in Tblisi

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 - 01:48