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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 November 2007, 15:13 GMT
Tear gas used on Georgia protest
Georgian riot police in Tbilisi - 7/11/2007
Authorities say they acted to unblock Tbilisi's main road

Georgian police have used tear gas and water cannon to dispel opposition demonstrators staging a sixth day of protests in the capital, Tbilisi.

The health minister said 250 people had been admitted to hospital, most to be treated for the effects of tear gas.

The protesters had been regrouping after police forced them off the city's main street in front of parliament.

President Mikhail Saakashvili has rejected the protesters' accusations of corruption and says he will not quit.

Police used tear gas and water cannon after several thousand protesters tried to reclaim Rustaveli Avenue - Tbilisi's main thoroughfare.

The BBC's Matthew Collin in Tbilisi says the police action provoked chaos among the demonstrators, sending them running for cover.

Mikhail Saakashvili
Mr Saakashvili has rejected the allegations against him

The protesters say the police response demonstrates Mr Saakashvili's authoritarian tendencies.

The opposition said police had arrested two of its leaders and beaten several of its supporters during an earlier raid.

The authorities said they had to act to unblock the city's main thoroughfare and stop protesters from setting up a tent camp there. A government official said the rally could continue on the pavement.

'Baseless' allegations

Opposition supporters have been gathering outside parliament every day since Friday, when 50,000 people attended the largest street protest seen since the 2003 "Rose Revolution" that brought pro-Western Mr Saakashvili to power.

The protesters accuse him of corruption and of not doing enough to tackle poverty.

They are calling for the president's resignation and want a fresh election.

Mr Saakashvili has accused Russia of stirring up the unrest, and has recalled Georgia's ambassador to Moscow for consultations.

Many of the protesters back the president's former ally, Irakli Okruashvili, who was arrested last month.

Mr Okruashvili was detained shortly after he said Mr Saakashvili had plotted to kill a top businessman. He was later released on a multimillion-dollar bail and went to Germany.

The government says Mr Okruashvili's accusations are "false and baseless".

Timeline: Georgia
03 Nov 07 |  Country profiles
Country profile: Georgia
03 Nov 07 |  Country profiles

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