Georgian authorities make coup allegations against opposition

Georgian riot police in action
The Georgian Interior Ministry has published footage which it says shows members of the opposition party plotting a coup d’etat in the country. The people involved were earlier arrested for illegal ownership of weapons.

The Georgia Online website reports that the Head of the ministry’s Information Analysis Department, Shota Utiashvili, said Tuesday the footage “shows references to individuals, their plans, and sources of financing.” He said more compromising material will be revealed on Wednesday.

The ministry says it has five tapes showing two opposition activists bargaining with a gunrunner the purchase of weapons, rounds and armour vests. They were meant to be used during mass protests scheduled for April 9, to take over the parliament building and Tbilisi TV tower.

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, whom the opposition is calling to resign, is also said to be targeted by the alleged mutineers.

The first video record was published on Monday, after the opposition accused Georgian authorities of political prosecution.

Nino Burdzhanadze, who heads the party, members of which were arrested by the police, said Tuesday she doubted the authenticity of the footage.

“We have serious doubts over the time the record was made and whether it was edited,” she said, adding the authorities were pursuing “discrediting policy” towards the opposition. She gave assurances that the opposition rally on April 9 will take place in Tbilisi no matter what.

Nine members of the Georgian opposition party “Democratic movement – united Georgia” were arrested on March 23. They are charged with illegal possession of weapons. The party leadership said the charges were politically motivated.