Protesters in the Georgian capital Tbilisi have attacked prominent supporters of President Mikheil Saakashvili and forced him to change the venue of his annual address to the nation.
The city’s mayor Guigui Ougoulava and several politicians from the president’s party were assaulted outside the National Library where the speech was due to take place. The police did not intervene.
Saakashvili’s detractors accuse him of flouting human rights and stifling dissent. He had already been barred from making the address in parliament.
The president’s supporters point the finger at the ruling Georgian Dream coalition. Since his National Movement party lost parliamentary elections last October, he has been locked in a tense cohabitation with billionaire Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili.
“It is a direct violation of the Constitution of Georgia to prevent the president from addressing parliament and the people. And unfortunately this is all masterminded by the prime minister and his supporters,” said the parliament’s vice speaker Giorgy Baramidze.
Later it was announced that Saakashvili would make the speech from his office.
The long-standing pro-Western leader is due to stand down in October. His acceptance last year of his party going into opposition marked Georgia’s first peaceful transfer of power between rival parties since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
- 1G7 says ‘global growth is our urgent priority’
- 2Third night of riots rock Barcelona’s Gràcia district
- 3New video footage: overcrowded migrant boat capsizing
- 4French labour reform action threatens to disrupt Euro 2016 fans
- 5Leaders ‘influenced Putin’ over Savchenko release, say Ukraine pilot’s lawyers
- 1Groundbreaking study sheds light on Neanderthal life
- 2Germany: #Cutesolidarity response to Kinder chocolate controversy
- 3In the EU ‘one in three deaths of under-75s is avoidable,’ says Eurostat
- 4Germany’s carrot and stick approach to refugee integration
- 5Hero’s welcome for Ukraine pilot Nadiya Savchenko after Russia prisoner swap
Wires > News
- 20:59 CET Kerry welcomes bid to spur talks between Venezuela, opposition
- 20:56 CET Rio de Janeiro police investigate alleged gang rape that has…
- 20:50 CET Vietnamese man gets 40 years in U.S. prison for al Qaeda support
- 20:37 CET Freed by Russia, Ukraine’s ‘Joan of Arc’ may be thorn in own…
- 19:49 CET Turkey says U.S. ‘two-faced’ for not viewing Syrian Kurdish YPG as…
- 19:45 CET Islamic State has Euro 2016 in its sights, German spy chief says
- 19:43 CET U.N. chief ‘deeply disappointed’ by rejection of press watchdog
- 19:12 CET Hollande says won’t let protesters choke economy as police clear…