17:00 GMT +323 October 2018
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    Georgian opposition stages rally near parliament

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    TBILISI, November 7 (RIA Novosti) - Several thousand Georgian opposition activists began a rally near the country's parliament on Friday to commemorate the break up of last year's protests against President Mikheil Saakashvili.

    Georgia was rocked by opposition rallies for six days last November as protestors occupied central Tbilisi demanding Saakashvili's resignation over allegations of corruption and increasing authoritarianism.

    The Georgian leader responded by sending in riot police to crack down on protestors on November 7. Over 500 people were injured, according to the U.S. rights group, Human Rights Watch, as police used rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannons to break up the demonstrations.

    Saakashvili subsequently called early elections for January and was reelected with 53% of the vote.

    Opposition supporters, who gathered in front of the parliament's main entrance on Friday, began handing out leaflets saying that the protests were aimed at the peaceful transition of power.

    The protestors, including members of the Conservative Party of Georgia, the Georgian Labor Party and the Movement for United Georgia, said that more demonstrations would follow.

    Opposition figures are demanding early presidential and parliamentary elections in the spring of 2009, the release of opposition activists arrested during last November's protests, and the return of the opposition Imedi TV station to the family of its late owner, tycoon Badri Patarkatsishvili.

    Other opposition members marked the date by visiting the Tbilisi Holy Trinity Cathedral, where several opposition activists took shelter from riot police during last year's disturbances, and holding a memorial meeting near the office of the Imedi TV channel, raided by the police in connection with the protests.

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