Thursday, April 09, 2009

NEWS: Tbilisi Rally Swells, But Falls Short Of Opposition Hopes

TBILISI/PRAGUE (RFE/RL) -- More than 50,000 demonstrators have converged on a square outside the Georgian parliament to hear opposition leaders demand the resignation of Mikheil Saakashvili, with critics blaming the pugnacious president for a host of ills.
In the wake of a much-criticized clampdown on protests ahead of last year's presidential election, flagging economic fortunes and a disastrous conflict with Russia, the opposition has vowed to maintain a vigil outside the legislature until Saakashvili is gone and new elections are held.Protesters were still converging on downtown Tbilisi this afternoon, but attendance appeared destined to fall far short of the 150,000 people organizers were hoping to attract.Smaller protests were reported in other Georgian cities, with no reports of violence or other major incidents.

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