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Georgian police thwart 'plot to destabilize country'

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Georgian police said on Monday they had arrested 24 members of an armed group that was planning attacks in an attempt to destabilize the situation in the country, the Gruziya Online news agency reported.

Georgian police said on Monday they had arrested 24 members of an armed group that was planning attacks in an attempt to destabilize the situation in the country, the Gruziya Online news agency reported.

Police said the group was headed by former Georgian foreign minister Temur Khachishvili, who currently lives in Russia. They also said a member of the group had said that Badri Bitsadze, the husband of Nino Burdzhanadze, the opposition People's Assembly leader and parliamentary speaker, was also one of the main figures.

"The group was preparing a number of armed provocations on the territory of Georgia to destabilize the situation," police said in a statement.

The Georgian Foreign Ministry said on Friday that leaders of the People's Assembly party had planned to arm protesters calling for the resignation of President Mikheil Saakashvili.

Riot police used water cannons, rubber bullets and teargas to disperse opposition activists who gathered late on Wednesday on Tbilisi's main street in an attempt to prevent an Independence Day military parade. Georgia said Russia was behind the rally.

Tensions between Russia and Georgia remain high over a number of issues, including Moscow's recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Russia and Georgia fought a five-day war over the later in 2008.

MOSCOW, May 30 (RIA Novosti) 

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