Georgian MPs approve end to emergency rule

Georgia's parliament has voted to lift the state of emergency imposed last week by President Mikhail Saakashvili after clashes between police and demonstrators in the capital Tbilis that left over 500 injured. Emergency rule will end at 7 p.m. on November

Apart from outlawing public meetings and demonstrations, the emergency rule imposed on November 7 also meant that only the Georgian state broadcaster could gather and disseminate news.

After this state is lifted, independent TV and radio will be able to get back to normal, except for the country's leading opposition station, Imedi TV.

Operated by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, Imedi was Georgia's most popular channel, until special forces raided it last week, and stopped its transmission.

Imedi's license to broadcast has been suspended.

The authorities say the channel was airing calls to overthrow the government. However, the station plans to appeal the decision.

Bidzina Baratashvili, Imedi Managing Director said that “the order to suspend our broadcast is illegitimate. The arguments they use are so weak that we simply have to appeal against them. We are expecting this issue to be discussed as soon as possible, and we are confident the order will be overruled.”

 From a state of emergency, Georgia will be plunged straight into an election campaign, since President Saakashvili has called a snap presidential poll for January 5 as a way out of the political crisis.

The opposition, however, say they're being unfairly targeted in the run up to the vote.

Ex-minister turned anti-government campaigner, Georgy Khaindrava was interrogated for several hours by police. The authorities say he was in contact with Russian diplomats recently expelled from the country.

“All the claims they have should be discussed not with me, but with the Interior Minister. When I was a minister in the cabinet, I had no idea that the people I was negotiating with were suspected of espionage,” Khaindrava said.

Although Khaindrava was questioned as a witness, not as a suspect, he says he's been unjustly smeared.