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Chaotic Scenes at National Library Delay President's Address
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 8 Feb.'13 / 18:54

Chaotic scenes outside the National Library where protesters are gathered have delayed President Saakashvili’s address, which originally was scheduled for 6pm on Friday.

Saakashvili’s spokesperson said that the President would deliver his address at 8pm from the presidential palace and not from the National Library.   

Shortly before that announcement several UNM lawmakers and Tbilisi mayor Gigi Ugulava were assaulted by protesters not allowing them to approach the main entrance of the National Library.

Giga Bokeria, secretary of the National Security Council, who was also prevented by the protesters to approach the National Library said it was “appalling and shameful” incident.

Police forces are on the ground, but they have failed to prevent the incident.

Interior Minister Irakli Garibashvili arrived on the scene and called on the protesters to disperse otherwise warned them that the police would resort to measures envisaged by the law.

Before addressing protesters he told journalists that the Interior Ministry “tried maximally” to provide security. He claimed that the police offered UNM to use alternative routes to enter inside the library, but they refused and “they entered into conflict with protesters.” He condemned assault on UNM lawmakers and vowed that perpetrators would be punished.

“Our political opponents came here from the direction where protesters were mobilized and they did not use corridor which was secured for them by the police; so we suspect that they deliberately staged this provocation,” Garibashvili said.

President’s spokesperson, Manana Manjgaladze, responded that President’s administration announced few hours earlier about planned provocations and the Interior Ministry should have taken appropriate measures to prevent it.

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