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Police Drop Plans to Close Traffic in Tbilisi Center From Noon
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 19 Apr.'13 / 12:09

Interior Ministry has dropped plans to close traffic on wide area in downtown Tbilisi from Friday noon in connection to UNM’s outdoor rally on Rustaveli Avenue.

Ministry’s initial plan was to close the traffic on the Rustaveli Avenue and nearby streets, as well as on Freedom Square and Rose Square from 12:00 local time till the end of the rally, which starts at 4pm on Friday.

Tbilisi Mayor’s Office, however, said closing traffic on such a wide area and doing it four hours before the start of the rally was unnecessary.

On Friday the Interior Ministry announced that it would no longer close down traffic on Rustaveli Avenue and adjacent areas from the noon in order “not to create discomfort” to Tbilisi residents. It also said that the police was taking measures to provide safety of rally participants and would take decision about restricting traffic on Rustaveli Avenue and nearby areas depending on developments on the ground.

A stage from where UNM leaders will address supporters and which is decorated with pictures of Georgian and EU flags, has been installed in front of a building previously housing parliament on Rustaveli Avenue.

The rally was first announced by UNM's secretary general and former PM Vano Merabishvili in late February as a gathering in defense for Georgia's pro-western foreign policy; since then the Parliament adopted bipartisan resolution reaffirming country's foreign policy course. UNM, however, says that in practice policies of PM Ivanishvili's government are contrary to western aspirations and in recent days UNM leaders are often citing PM's remarks on August war.

UNM MP Giorgi Kandelaki said that Friday’s rally would demonstrate that UNM was the most efficient political group in the country and would give “new impulse” to the political life in the country. 

UNM MPs say they do not yet know whether President Saakashvili will show up at the rally or not.

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