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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 November 2007, 19:07 GMT
Fresh protests in Georgia capital
Georgian opposition supporters shout slogans in front of the parliament building in the center of Tbilisi, 3 November 2007
Protesters say the president has not done enough to end poverty
Up to 12,000 protesters have been on the streets of Georgia for a second day to demand the resignation of President Mikhail Saakashvili.

Many of the protesters had camped overnight outside the parliament building in the capital, Tbilisi.

The crowd swelled during the day, but did not match the 50,000-strong crowd seen on Friday.

The protesters want an early election, accusing the president of leading a corrupt, authoritarian government.

The pro-Western Mr Saakashvili came to power in January 2004 following the peaceful "Rose revolution", which toppled President Eduard Shevardnadze.

The country is still struggling to recover from years of post-Soviet economic decay, instability and civil war.

The president remains popular among much of the population, reports the BBC's Matthew Collin in Tbilisi - but the opposition is also hoping to capitalise on discontent with widespread poverty.

"Saakashvili has said absolutely nothing. How can he stay silent when tens of thousands of people are on the streets? It shows he thinks nothing of us," 23-year-old Levan Kaprindashvili told AFP news agency.

'Political blackmail'

The country's previously weak and divided opposition parties formed a united front last month, and began a nationwide protest campaign against the Georgian leader.

President Mikhail Saakashvili
Mr Saakashvili says he has rescued Georgia's economy
The government has accused the opposition of using the protest as a form of blackmail.

Mr Saakashvili said on Thursday that Georgia was a failed state before he came to power but had now become a model of democratic development and economic reform.

He has suggested minor changes to the electoral process to ensure more opposition representation in parliament - but the opposition says this is not enough.

SEE ALSO
Timeline: Georgia
25 Aug 07 |  Country profiles
Country profile: Georgia
25 Aug 07 |  Country profiles

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