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Saakashvili blames Russia for anti-govt protests

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Saakashvili blames Russia for anti-govt protests

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There has been a sixth day of anti-government protests in the Georgian capital Tbilisi, with thousands of demonstrators demanding President Mikheil Saakashvili resign.

They gathered outside the country’s parliament, angry, they say, at Saakashvili’s authoritarian stance on democracy but most of all at the way he handled last year’s war with Russia. At the protest, opposition leader Nino Burjanadze said: “All these people are much more radical than the leaders of the opposition and these people are asking us not to make any step back, because they are sure that the President is the threat to the country’s stability.” The President claimed Russia was behind moves to unseat him – something the opposition dismissed. But Saakashvili said the country would not succumb to outside efforts to foment unrest in Georgia. “Russia thought things here were unstable,” he said. “But Russia can not carry out a full-scale provocation. Recent days have shown that no matter how much money is spent, or whatever they do, Georgia is stable and it is impossible to de-stabilise it.” The President has refused to quit, saying he will see out his second term, due to end in 2013. But the protestors – including some camped outside his office – say they won’t shut up until he has gone.