Georgia opposition protests enter fifth day

May 25, 2011 12:00 am

, TBILISI, May 25 – Protests aimed at ousting Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili entered a fifth day on Wednesday although turnout dwindled as several opposition parties stayed away.

Some 200 activists maintained their vigil outside the public television studios in the ex-Soviet state\’s capital on Wednesday morning, where they have blocked a main road and set up a makeshift stage.

Accusing Saakashvili of authoritarianism, opposition party leader Nino Burjanadze has promised that Wednesday will "determine Georgia\’s future" and is vowing to occupy another central square in Tbilisi.

But amid bitter divisions within the opposition, a rival party has cancelled plans to boost the demonstrations by holding what it promised would be an Arab-style "Day of Rage".

Looking increasingly dishevelled after round-the-clock protests since Saturday, many of the activists are armed with sticks after brief clashes at the weekend.

They have put up large posters highlighting the alleged injustices and failures of the Saakashvili government, including the country\’s disastrous defeat in its war with arch-foe Russia in 2008.

But the rallies have remained small by local standards and the Georgian president dismissed them as "masquerades" in a speech late Tuesday, hinting that opposition leaders were doing the work of his enemies in the Kremlin.


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