Georgia Says Russia Behind Mass Upheaval

Former Soviet republic declares state of emergency after alleged coup attempt
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 7, 2007 2:20 PM CST
Anti-government protesters confront security forces, unseen, firing a water cannon against the protesters outside the parliament in Tbilisi, Georgia, on Wednesday Nov. 7, 2007. Georgian security forces...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Saying Russian intelligence was behind six days of mass protests, the president of the former Soviet republic declared a state of emergency today in the capital, Tbilisi, Reuters reports. "There was an attempt at a coup and creating disorder," the prime minister said after police attacked unarmed demonstrators with batons, rubber bullets, and tear gas.

"We cannot let our country become the stage for dirty geo-political escapades by other countries," said President Mikhail Saakashvili, whose desire to join NATO and the EU is a sore point with Moscow. The pro-Western Saakashvili has been accused by opponents of exhibiting the same corrupt, authoritarian tendencies as the country's former Communist bosses.