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Georgia declares state of emergency
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Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili has declared a 15-day nationwide state of emergency, Minister of Economic Development Georgy Arveladze told a briefing in Tbilisi at midnight on Wednesday.


Police officers run by an opposition supporter sitting on the side of the road during a rally in front of the parliament building in Tbilisi Nov. 7, 2007. Georgian riot police fired rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannon on Wednesday to break up a six-day-old rally by protesters demanding the resignation of President Mikhail Saakashvili.


"A state of emergency has been declared for 15 days and under this restrictions have been introduced on organizing rallies, meetings and marches, and on collecting and distributing information. Only state television will be functioning," he said.


The presidential decision has already taken effect, he added.


Saakashvili earlier the day declared a state of emergency only in the capital of Tbilisi and signed the relevant decree, Prime Minister Zurab Nogaideli said.


"A coup was attempted in Georgia and the state of emergency was introduced. The president decreed the state of emergency," Nogaideli said at a briefing on Wednesday evening.


"The decree will be filed for parliamentary approval within 48 hours under the Georgian Constitution," he was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.


The state of emergency was decreed only in Tbilisi, Nogaideli added.


"Naturally, temporary restrictions concern demonstrations and the media calling for disturbances, violence and violent overthrow of the authorities," Nogaideli said.


"As soon as order is restored, the state of emergency will be lifted, and the media will resume its work," Nogaideli said.


Georgian commandoes dispersed an opposition rally in Tbilisi on Wednesday.


Saakashvili said the leadership of the country "will do everything to prevent mass disturbances."


(Xinhua News Agency November 8, 2007)

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