Anti-government demonstrators in Georgia blockaded railway lines around the capital Tbilisi for a while in a growing campaign to force the president out of office. Protestors also threatened to blockade the country’s principal roads, including the main link to Tbilisi airport.
Tens of thousands had turned out on the country’s Independence Day to press home their demand that Mikhail Saakashvili resign. Protestors marched to the capital’s main cathedral, as the influential Orthodox patriarch urged dialogue between the protagonists. Witnesses say the gathering at the national football stadium was the biggest since the daily demonstrations began six weeks ago. Critics say Saakashvili has monopolised power since coming to office. His handling of last summer’s war with Russia over Abkhazia and South Ossetia increased the pressure on him to stand down. But Saakashvili has remained defiant, promising to see out his second term in office.