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Georgians urge leader to quit

September 29, 2007|From the Associated Press

tbilisi, georgia -- Thousands of opposition supporters rallied Friday in Georgia's capital, demanding that the president step down after the arrest of a former defense minister who accused him of involvement in a murder plot.

President Mikhail Saakashvili, who has been at the United Nations in New York, has not commented on the allegations by former Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili. This week, Okruashvili alleged that the president, a former ally, had encouraged him to kill a businessman.

On Friday, prosecutors charged Okruashvili with extortion, money-laundering and abuse of power.

In Tbilisi, about 10,000 opposition supporters gathered in front of parliament, blocking traffic and chanting, "Irakli! Irakli!" Police with truncheons and several water cannons stood by; skirmishes occasionally broke out, with protesters and police pushing one another.

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