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Last Updated: Saturday, 22 November, 2003, 17:30 GMT
Georgia 'coup' quotes - timeline

0900 GMT Saturday 23 November

Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze tells journalists at the parliament building he is ready for dialogue with the opposition.

"I am still ready for dialogue. However, I will not accept any ultimatums. Parliament has been elected. Those who want to enter parliament will do so. Parliament will start its work even if some do not want to take part in it - that is the situation we face."

1158 GMT

National Movement leader Mikhail Saakashvili addresses a rally outside the president's office.

"We will not make any deals for any posts and seats. We have only one aim - to rid the country of this man. The engines of the plane are turning. Let him get on and leave."

1250 GMT

President Shevardnadze opens the new parliament session.

"Dear friends, esteemed deputies... As you know, this is the parliament of the sixth convocation. Allow me to congratulate you on the great trust placed upon you by the people and declare the session open."

1315 GMT

Opposition supporters break into the chamber. President Shevardnadze says he will continue his speech amid opposition shouting.

"This is parliament. It is not the street. I do not want to resist you. Let the whole of Georgia see what is happening in the Georgian Parliament. I will continue, of course I will continue. Let the whole of Georgia see it."

1316 GMT

President Shevardnadze is led out of the chamber by bodyguards.

1319 GMT

Mikhail Saakashvili gives an address from the parliament, saying speaker Nino Burjanadze will chair the session.

"I appeal to the deputies and the ministers - do not be afraid, we are not armed, we are here on a peaceful mission."

1325 GMT

President Shevardnadze addresses a rally of his own supporters outside the parliament building.

"Friends, my children and my grandchildren, sisters and brothers, I am grateful to you for your support. But it is not Shevardnadze that you are supporting. You are supporting the whole of Georgia and probably the president has some significance in this... I know that our people are with us. We are capable of resolving all the issues, the most difficult issues, but only within the limits of the law and the constitution.

1332 GMT

"I cannot fight against them with similar methods... I will resign when my term of office ends in line with the provisions of the constitution. Some will not like this... I will not resign."

1350 GMT

Speaker Nino Burjanadze calls for calm, thanks army and police for not taking action, and blames President Shevardnadze for the crisis.

"Over the past two weeks we have done everything to prevent what happened in this hall today... The president did not listen to his people. The president ignored the will of his own people, as well as the international community. The president let slip all chances to hold peaceful talks and to resolve this crisis without today's tension. I think that the president does not have the moral right to speak to the Georgian people... The president left the Georgian people with no choice."

1455 GMT

Ms Burjanadze says she is assuming presidential powers.

"As speaker of the Georgian parliament, in accordance with the Constitution of Georgia, and until the issue of the president's capacity is finally resolved and until the date of the new presidential and parliamentary elections is fixed, I have to take upon myself those functions for which I am constitutionally responsible."

1500 GMT

Mr Shevardnadze declares a state of emergency.

"If I show weakness now, people will no longer forgive me. Action is what we need now. Restoring order is what we need now. Order can be restored only and only in the circumstances of a state of emergency. The Defence Ministry, the Ministry of Internal Affairs know what they must do. Everyone, including the Internal Troops, will be subordinate to the Defence Ministry as of now and we will restore order... I find it very difficult to call this a coup attempt. But what else is a coup attempt then?"

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.




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