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Georgian riot police crush opposition protest

Reuters reports from TBILISI — Georgian riot police broke up five days of demonstrations demanding the resignation of President Mikheil Saakashvili on Thursday and two people were killed by cars speeding from the clashes.

Thousands of riot police used teargas, water cannon and rubber bullets to disperse protesters outside parliament in torrential rain just after midnight on Thursday to clear the way for the former Soviet republic's independence celebrations.

Giorgi Kakulia / AFP - Getty Images

An injured man walks in front of the ranks of the Georgian riot police officers dispersing an opposition rally in front of the parliament in Tbilisi late on May 25. Authorities in Georgia sent in riot police as five days of opposition protests demanding the resignation of Western-backed President Mikheil Saakashvili ended violently.

Vano Shlamov / AFP - Getty Images

Georgian riot police officers attack protesters (not pictured) while dispersing an opposition rally in front of the parliament in Tbilisi late on May 25.

At least 37 people were wounded. Some opposition protesters were beaten by police with batons and Reuters photographers saw people smeared in blood lying restrained on the tarmac. Some protesters wielded metal poles and sticks.

Opponents accuse the pro-Western Saakashvili of monopolizing power since the 2003 Rose Revolution that ousted the post-Soviet old guard in the Caucasus state, where pipelines carry oil from the Caspian Sea to the West.

Reuters

Police detain protesters during clashes in Tbilisi on May 26.

Reuters

Detained protesters sit on the street as riot police leave after clashes in Tbilisi on May 26.

Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili said one policeman and a protester were killed after being hit by vehicles in a convoy of cars driving away from the protest. He said one car was carrying opposition leader Nino Burjanadze, a charge she denied. Continue reading.