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Georgian premier promises not to resign amid protests

June 01, 2018, 6:44 UTC+3 TBILISI

Currently, a crowd of several thousand people still remains outside the country’s parliament

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TBILISI, June 1. /TASS/. Georgian Prime Minister Georgy Kvirikashvili told a special briefing on Thursday night he was not planning to resign to appease the protests currently under way in the capital Tbilisi.

"As soon as I am sure that my resignation benefits the country, that it can slightly improve the situation or defuse tensions, I will not hesitate even for a second about making this step. However, this is not today’s situation," he said.

The rally was sparked by the killing of two teenagers in Tbilisi on December 1, 2017. Protesters accused the country’s law enforcement bodies of failing to properly investigate the tragedy. At first, protesters sought the resignation of the country’s chief prosecutor Irakly Shotadze. However, after the demand was met, the crowd demanded the resignation of the whole cabinet, including Kvirikashvili.

"Tomorrow [on Friday] the case will be returned for investigation to Georgia’s interior ministry. Vice premier and Interior Minister Georgy Gakharia will oversee the process. He will head it, and, of course, I will follow every step and will control the entire process," Kvirikashvili said.

"During the investigation, to be conducted by the Interior Ministry, the parents of the slain teenagers can receive updates about it on a daily basis," he added.

The rally, which began on Thursday afternoon in front of the Georgian Prosecutor General’s office, was organized by Zaza Saralidze, the father of one of the victims. Earlier in the day, the Tbilisi city court acquitted all suspects. The decision came as a shock to relatives of the victims, who were angered by the way the prosecutors handled the investigation into the murder case and accused law-enforcers of covering up for the culprits.

Currently, a crowd of several thousand still remains in front of the country’s parliament. They say they would stay their until their demands are met, and will make a tent camp there if necessary.

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