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Leader of Georgia’s largest opposition party detained during protest in Tbilisi


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Tbilisi: Levan Khabeishvili, the leader of former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili’s opposition party United National Movement, has been detained at a demonstration against a bill on foreign agents in central Tbilisi, Georgian broadcaster Formula News reported on Wednesday.

The broadcaster reported that the opposition politician had been severely beaten by riot police during the protests and posted on the website and social media a picture of Khabeishvili with traces of blood on his face and a black eye.

The politician has been reportedly taken to a hospital.

Georgian broadcaster Mtavari Arxi reported that Georgia’s law enforcement has also detained Aleko Elisashvili, the chairman of the Citizens political party, immediately after his appearance at the demonstration, but he was later released and forced out of the epicenter of the demonstration.

Another protest broke out in Tbilisi on Tuesday, with the country’s police using pepper spray, water cannons and rubber bullets against demonstrators to force them out of central Rustaveli Avenue. Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili has called on Interior Minister Vakhtang Gomelauri to stop dispersing demonstrators as their action against the bill is peaceful.

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