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Georgian Parliament speaker resigns amid mass protests - ruling party

Georgian Parliament speaker resigns amid mass protests - ruling party
The speaker of the Georgian Parliament has stepped down on foot of the massive, violent rallies that rocked the capital city of Tbilisi following a visit by Russian MPs.

Irakli Kobakhidze resigned on Friday, the head of the ruling Georgian Dream Kakha Kaladze announced, explaining that “this decision means being accountable to the people."

The party leader also accused some “reckless destructive forces” of igniting the unrest, adding that they are to be prosecuted for what he said was “organizing mass violence.”

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The Georgian opposition had vowed to return to the streets on Friday evening if the Parliament speaker had not resigned.

Tensions ratcheted up during the assembly’s session in the parliament building earlier as some opposition MPs were outraged by the presence of Russian delegation member Sergey Gavrilov, who was addressing the gathering from the seat of the house speaker.

Earlier on Thursday, a massive protest raged through Tbilisi with around 5,000 people gathering outside the parliament in Tbilisi. Separately, the demonstrators attempted to force their way into the parliament’s courtyard, engaging in clashes with the special forces. Some of them were filmed attacking the officers or throwing bottles at them.

At some point, police deployed tear gas, fired rubber bullets, and made the protesters retreat, but the crowd returned to the parliament building shortly afterwards.

Kaladze, who is also mayor of Tbilisi, urged the protesters to refrain from violence instigated by “political provocateurs.” Other politicians, like Nino Burjanadze, former acting head of state of Georgia, accused the government of incompetence that has led the country into a crisis.

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