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Opposition’s Troubled Campaign in Samegrelo
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 28 Oct.'07 / 20:15

Ten opposition parties campaigned in western region of Samegrelo on October 28, as a lead-up to a planned protest rally in Tbilisi on November 2.

Opposition’s trip to Samegrelo, however, was not as smooth as in other provinces.

In Zugdidi, a major town of the province, a group of local residents reportedly threw eggs to opposition activists while they were rallying outside the local municipality, and then entered into a scuffle with the opposition supporters. Georgian television stations aired footage showing men punching Giorgi Khaindrava, a leader of opposition group Equality Institute and Bidzina Gujabidze, a lawmaker from the opposition Conservative Party.

One of Zugdidi-based groups of supporters of late Georgian President Zviad Gamsakhurdia warned on October 27 the opposition leaders, especially those from the Republican Party, as well as Giorgi Khaindrava, against arriving in Zugdidi. Many supporters of ex-president blame the Republicans for their alleged role in Gamsakhurdia's ouster in early 90s.

Konstantine Gamsakhurdia, leader of opposition Freedom Party (which is part of ten-party coalition), who is son of the late President, blamed local authorities and law enforcement agencies for being behind, what he called, “a provocation.”

Scuffles between supporters of opposition and authorities reportedly also occurred in Tsalenjikha, another town in Samegrelo, where opposition activists traveled before going to Zugdidi.

“This was just a small group of provocateurs, which failed to thwart our protest rally,” Giorgi Khaindrava said. “Thousands were protesting today.”

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