TBILISI, Georgia -- Tens of thousands of protesters gathered in front of Parliament on Thursday to demand that President Mikheil Saakashvili resign and to hear opposition leaders describe him as a tyrant who had mishandled the war with Russia.
While the event was held amid rising tensions, it began without incident. People streamed along Rustaveli Avenue, one of the main roads here in the capital, bearing signs and chanting slogans against Mr. Saakashvili, who took office five years ago with promises of a progressive, pro-Western government.
Opposition parties have asserted that they will not halt their protest until Mr. Saakashvili steps down. “We are here because there is no other way to do this,” said Levan Gachechiladze, an opposition leader. “We need to stay here until the end. He must go!”
Irakli Alasania, a former ambassador to the United Nations who broke with Mr. Saakashvili over the war, told the crowd that Mr. Saakashvili had spurned the values of the democratic movement that brought him to power.
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