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7 Apr, 2009 16:38

Georgian government gets help to tackle opposition?

A Ukrainian cargo ship carrying rubber bullets and batons has arrived in the Georgian port of Poti, according to Georgian media.

Ukraine is also due to send SWAT teams to break up an opposition rally scheduled for Thursday, reports Russia’s Interfax news agency quoting Georgian media.

Georgia's Interior Ministry hasn't commented on the claims, but opposition leader Salome Zurabishvili says the information may be false.

“The situation in Ukraine, as well as Saakashvili's currently tense relations with Yuschenko and Timoshenko, suggest that sending Ukrainian SWAT teams to Georgia can only be a hoax”, says Salome Zurabishvili.

She believes there will be no need for force as the demonstration calling for President Saakashvili's resignation will be peaceful.

“We are also sure that the meeting demanding Saakashvili's resignation will begin on April 9 and might last for weeks, up until May 26, which is Georgia's Independence Day. We've got the nerve and we're not planning to violate the Constitution. As for Saakashvili and his team – their nerves are definitely not OK”, says Zurabishvili.

Tensions escalated in Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi, ahead of mass protest rallies planned by the opposition for April, 9. On Monday, six activists were detained while another was beaten and later arrested by police for holding an unsanctioned meeting near the building housing the Georgian national opposition.