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Four Georgian opposition figures interviewed by police over Tbilisi riots

Last week, two former state officials were summoned to give their testimony

TBILISI, July 11. /TASS/. Officers of Georgia’s interior ministry summoned four opposition leaders for an interview on Thursday over last month’s riots in the capital Tbilisi, a ministry spokesperson has told TASS.

"Four people were summoned for questioning as eyewitnesses: Khatia Dekanoidze [senior member of the United National Movement], Bachuki Kardava [leader of the National Democratic Party], Gubaz Sanikidze [senior member of the Victorious Georgia party] and Irakli Glonti [senior member of the Law and Justice party]

Last week, two former state officials - ex-Tbilisi mayor Gigi Ugulava and former defense minister Giorgi Baramidze - also testified as part of the same case. Another ex-defense minister, Irakli Okruashvili, was summoned for an interview.

In late June, Nikanor Melia, a lawmaker representing the United National Movement opposition party founded by ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili, was detained and released on bail on charges of organizing and leading a public unrest.

On June 20, several thousand protesters gathered near the building of the national parliament in downtown Tbilisi, demanding the resignation of the interior minister and the parliament’s speaker, and tried to storm it. In response, police used tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons to disperse the demonstrators. According to Georgian media, 305 protesters were detained, 240 people suffered injuries.

The protests were sparked by an uproar over the Russian State Duma delegation’s participation in the 26th session of the Inter-parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (IAO). Opposition lawmakers were outraged by the fact that Gavrilov addressed the event’s participants from the parliament speaker’s seat. In protest, they did not allow the IAO session to continue and besieged the parliament.