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The News in Brief

Thursday, May 28
Levan Vephkhvadze – new elections are unlikely

One of the representatives of the Parliamentary minority, Vice Speaker of Georgia’s Parliament Levan Vephkhvadze, has told ABC News that it is unlikely fresh Parliamentary elections will be held. “We are under no illusions that Saakashvili will resign after this,” he said.

ABC News reports that thousands of protestors have rallied in Georgia, calling for the resignation of President Mikheil Saakashvili. A crowd estimated at between 60,000 and 100,000 packed into a Tbilisi football stadium for an opposition rally on Georgia's Independence Day. After flare-ups at other rallies over the past six weeks, the Georgian authorities cancelled an Independence Day military parade, saying they wanted to avoid a confrontation with protestors. (Interpressnews)

Tskhinvali regime preparing for elections

The Tskhinvali puppet regime expects 50 observers to monitor the conduct of its so-called Parliamentary elections. The Res agency reports that Chairperson of the Ossetian Central Election Comission Bela Plieve has announced, “50 observers from 10 countries will monitor the elections. 100 Russian and foreign journalists will cover them.”

Plieve said that a Parliamentary Elections 2009 Information Centre will be opened in Tskhinvali today. So-called President Eduard Kokoity, Foreign Minister Murat Jioev and Information and Mass Communications Minister Irina Gagloeva will take part in the opening of this. The centre will work from 28 May to 1 June and promulgate fresh results every hour. (Interpressnews)

Ramaz Sakvarelidze on 26th May

Political expert Ramaz Sakvarelidze states that the 26 May rally has clearly shown that real steps must be taken by the Government to prevent uncontrollable chaos breaking out.

“26 May has shown the Government that quite a large part of society is dissatisfied with it, and the opposition has managed to pack the dissatisfied people into the stadium to show them off to the West. The level of public dissatisfaction has increased and could destroy not only the Government but the opposition as well,” Sakvarelidze told Interpressnews.

Sakvarelidze states that the Government, people and opposition leaders must think about the Patriarch’s announcement. “The Patriarch has said nothing strange or unreasonable. He is above confrontation. He invited representatives of both sides to the cathedral so they could listen to each other, called for tolerance and distinctly said that the country will gain more than it loses by achieving mutual understanding and listening to each other,” Sakvarelidze stated. He added that 26 May has made it obvious that the opposition will continue its fight against the Government regardless. (Interpressnews)

Russian NGO and some Georgians rally in Moscow

Members of the Russian protest movement NASHI and some ethnic Georgians residing in Moscow have sewn a ‘blanket of friendship’ on Pushkin Square. The members of the NGO explained that this was the demonstration which they had wanted to hold in Tbilisi earlier. Aleksandr Kuznetsov, who was arrested in Tbilisi a few weeks ago in suspicion of organizing a provocation at the administrative border of Tskhinvali, was also among the protestors.

The Georgian and Russian youth said it was a non-political demonstration which aimed to demonstrate that despite the tension in the relations between the two countries their peoples should find a common language. (Rustavi 2)

Organized criminal group of kidnappers detained

On May 25, following an operative search conducted by officers of the Didube-Chighureti district police division of the Ministry of Interior, members of an organized criminal group were detained, namely Armen Agajanov (born 1974), Levan Akhalaia (born 1979), Giorgi Pirosmanishvili (born 1976) and Paata Alania (born 1980), who, on May 23 abducted Raul Akhmedov and demanded a ransom for him.

The detained persons threatened to kill Raul Akhmedov unless they received 500,000 USD from his family. After holding Akhmedov in illegal custody for two days, the kidnappers did not receive the ransom and decided to get rid of the hostage. They took him from Tbilisi in the direction of Rustavi, tied him up and dropped him from a bridge over the Mtkvari in the vicinity of Gachiani village, Gardabani region. The victim survived this ordeal. (Rustavi 2)