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Thousands rally against president

May 27, 2008|From Times Wire Reports

Tens of thousands of people protested in Georgia's capital against President Mikheil Saakashvili, who they said had stolen victory for his ruling party in last week's parliamentary elections.

Up to 40,000 opponents demonstrated in front of the parliament building in central Tbilisi, the scene of protests that brought Saakashvili to power in 2003 on a wave of optimism that he would reform the tiny Caucasus nation.

He used riot police to crush protests in November, and the opposition says he rigged the presidential vote in January and the parliamentary elections.

"We want these elections to be canceled, and we want this parliament to be abolished," Salome Zourabichvili, an opposition leader who had served as Saakashvili's foreign minister, told the crowd.

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