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    GEORGIA: PRESIDENT ORDERS CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS ON BATUMI RIOTS

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    TBILISI, FEBRUARY 20, RIA NOVOSTI - Georgia's National Security Council and State Security, Interior and Justice ministries are to start investigating public unrest in Batumi on President Mikhail Saakashvili's order. The Georgian President also ordered criminal proceedings launched against rioters, masterminds and persons who were violently pressuring Adzhar oppositionaries, Vano Merabishvili, National Security Council Secretary, announced to an emergency news conference, late this afternoon.

    According to his information, Georgi Baramidze, Georgia's Interior Minister, contacted Jemal Gogitidze, his republican counterpart, to demand an end put to violence, reports a correspondent of the Novosti/Georgia news agency.

    Mr. Merabishvili hopes Adzharia's Interior Ministry will follow Georgi Baramidze's order, and help to track down rioters.

    Batumi, capital of Adzharia, an autonomy within Georgia, was scene of bad public unrest today. It started with a rally arranged by the movement, Our Adzharia, in the city's heart to demand resignation of republican President Aslan Abashidze. Ralliers clashed with Abashidze's supporters close to the movement headquarters.

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