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Police Arrest Opposition Activists in Rustavi
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 8 May.'11 / 14:08

Police arrested on May 7 in the town of Rustavi about dozen of activists from the opposition groups affiliated with People's Assembly, backed by ex-parliamentary speaker Nino Burjanadze's party.

A small group of protesters from the People's Assembly rallied nearby a house of a local police official in Rustavi, less than 30 km south of Tbilisi, as part of series of protests in lead up to the planned anti-government demonstrations on May 21 in Tbilisi and Batumi.

The group of protesters was marching peacefully on a small street when dozens of policemen, who were present at the scene, started rounding up participants of the gathering, reportedly after an unknown man hit a police officer. Organizers of the rally said the perpetrator was "a provocateur", not their activist.

Democratic Movement-United Georgia (DMUG), an opposition party led by Nino Burjanadze, said in a statement that "the Saakashvili's regime staged a provocation" against the People's Assembly activists.

"We call on the Interior Ministry to immediately reveal an identity of a man, who physically insulted a policewoman. The authorities, which are in agony, should know that we will not yield to their provocations and we will not change our plan" to start protest rallies from May 21, DMUG said in the statement.

Late on May 7 court in Rustavi found twelve detainees guilty of petty hooliganism and disobedience to police orders and jailed eight of them; others were fined with GEL 400 each and released, according to the People’s Assembly. Three activists were jailed for 30 days; two – for 15 days and three – for seven days.

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