People react while listening to a speaker during a protest as opposition demonstrators gather in front of the Georgian Parliament building in Tbilisi, Georgia, Monday, June 24, 2019. Demonstrators have returned to parliament for daily rallies, demanding the release of detained protesters, the ouster of the nation's interior minister and changes in the electoral law to have legislators chosen fully proportionally rather than the current mix of party-list and single-mandate representatives. (AP Photo/Shakh Aivazov)

Georgia's ruling party resists demand for minister's firing

June 25, 2019 - 12:21 pm

TBILISI, Georgia (AP) — The ruling party in Georgia is ignoring opposition demands that the interior minister resign over a violent crackdown on protesters.

The opposition walked out of Tuesday's parliament session after the ruling Georgian Dream party refused to consider the minister's ouster.

Throngs of protesters tried to break into parliament last Thursday, vexed by a Russian lawmaker taking the speaker's seat during an international meeting. Police dispersed the crowds with tear gas and rubber bullets.

The showdown reflects long-standing anger against Russia, which routed Georgia in a brief 2008 war and maintains a military presence in Georgia's two breakaway provinces. Protesters see the ruling party as being overly friendly to Moscow.

The ruling party has accepted one opposition demand, agreeing to hold the next parliamentary election based entirely on a proportionate system.

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