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Police in Georgia Use Water Cannons, Tear Gas at Protesters

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Police in Tbilisi, Georgia used water cannons and tear gas against crowds protesting against the alleged rigged parliamentary election results outside the Central Election Commission (CEC) building last Nov. 8.

Police in Tbilisi, Georgia used water cannons and tear gas against crowds protesting against the alleged rigged parliamentary election results outside the Central Election Commission (CEC) building last Nov. 8.

Footage from live television showed the police firing water cannon and tear gas at the crowds after protesters threatened to blockade the CEC building.

According to a statement released by the Interior Ministry of Georgia, the protesters attempted to storm the CEC building.

“Owning to the fact that rally participants applied violent methods and ignored instructions of police, the Ministry of Internal Affairs applied proportional force within its jurisdiction defined by the law,” the ministry stated.

Protesters gathered from the main Rustaveli Avenue to the CEC building to demand the resignation of CEC Chief tamar Zavania and an election rerun as they accuse the ruling Georgian Dream Party of rigging the elections held last Oct. 31.

Official election results showed that the Georgian Dream Party won 48.23% of the votes while the largest opposition party United National Movement (UNM) garnered 27.18% of the votes.

UNM, along with other opposition parties, accused the ruling party of vote-buying, threatening voters and observers, and violations during the counting process. The opposition parties also said they refuse to enter the new parliament.

The ruling party, founded by billionaire and former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishuli, denied the accusations.