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Russia calls Georgian events violation of human rights

Russia
(updated 18:24 28.10.2014)
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Russia called events in Georgia, where a 15-day state of emergency was declared Wednesday night, a violation of human rights and democratic freedom, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Thursday.
MOSCOW, November 8 (RIA Novosti) - Russia called events in Georgia, where a 15-day state of emergency was declared Wednesday night, a violation of human rights and democratic freedom, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Thursday.

President Mikheil Saakashvili imposed a state of emergency after riot police cracked down on mass protests in the capital, Tbilisi. Thousands of protesters had rallied in the city center for six days, calling for the president's resignation. Police used tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets to disperse opposition supporters, and troops were deployed on the streets.

"We can only describe the events in Georgia as a gross violation of human rights and democratic freedom. The international community and major human rights organizations, such as the UN, the Council of Europe and the OSCE, should urge Tbilisi to stop the violence, fully respect human rights and settle domestic policy issues and problems without the use of force, but in line with the Constitution and laws," Mikhail Kamynin said.

"Televised footage of events in Tbilisi seen by the whole world has clearly demonstrated what democracy means in Georgia," Mikhail Kamynin said adding that the country was nearing a crisis point in its observance of human rights.

A total of 589 people sought medical treatment on Wednesday, 560 of them, including 24 police officers, were discharged from hospitals. Three patients have undergone surgery, and 18 remain in hospital, the country's Health Ministry said.

Kamynin also pledged that Russia would ensure the security of its nationals residing in Georgia's breakaway territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Before announcing the state of emergency, President Saakashvili blamed "high ranking officials in Russia's special services" for the unrest, and said several Russian diplomats would be expelled from Georgia for spying.

The European Union and NATO said they were closely watching the situation in Georgia and urged the country's authorities and opposition to refrain from confrontation. The latest reports quoted NATO's secretary general, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, as saying that declaring a state of emergency and restricting press freedom in Georgia, with whom NATO has been holding intensive membership talks, provokes deep concern and contradicts Western values.

Georgia has been seeking to join NATO since 2001.