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State of emergency declared in Tbilisi
11.07.07, 2:19 PM ET



LONDON (Thomson Financial) - A 48-hour state of emergency has been declared in the Georgian capital Tbilisi following a day of clashes between security forces and opposition protesters, Prime Minister Zurab Nogaideli announced.

Nogaideli said the state of emergency was warranted because 'there was an attempt at unrest and a state coup, so we had to react to that.'

He said emergency measures would include temporary restrictions on public demonstrations and gatherings 'as well as on calls in the media for unrest and overthrow of the government with use of force.

His announcement came after police fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse anti-government protests and then forced the main opposition television station off the air.

In a televised address, President Mikheil Saakashvili accused Russian secret services of fomenting the unrest.

The Russian Foreign Ministry rejected the accusation, calling it an 'irresponsible provocation' designed by Saakashvili to distract attention from his domestic problems and blame them on a foreign scapegoat.

Soon after Saakashvili's address, an announcer on Georgia's pro-opposition Imedi television station said that government special forces had entered the broadcaster's building.

The station went off the air immediately afterwards.

tf.TFN-Europe_newsdesk@thomson.com

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