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Georgian opposition to continue protest despite Palm Sunday


TBILISI, April 12 (RIA Novosti) - The Georgian opposition said on Sunday it would continue its peaceful protest demanding the resignation of President Mikheil Saakashvili, despite its previous decision to hold a break for a religious holiday.

The Georgian opposition reversed its previous decision to hold a break for Palm Sunday and resume protests on Monday after the opposition's press center, set up in front of the Georgian parliament's building, was attacked by unidentified assailants on the night of April 11-12.

Ex-speaker of the Georgian parliament Nino Burdzhanadze accused the country's authorities of the attack.

"You can see that everything has been crushed here and you can see what the authorities' answer to the opposition's proposal to sit down to a negotiating table is," Burdzhanadze said.

The attackers crushed the tent that housed the opposition's press center and damaged the press-center's computers.

Georgian opposition groups announced the start of a campaign of civil disobedience on Friday evening, with protests crowding outside parliament and the presidential offices, blocking the route to the state broadcaster.

Opposition leaders have pledged to keep the protests peaceful, but to continue until Saakashvili steps down.

Saakashvili is currently facing the toughest challenge yet to his leadership amid public anger over last summer's disastrous war with Russia and his authoritarian leadership.

Saakashvili's opponents blame him for dragging the country into a war with Russia over South Ossetia last August, resulting in the permanent split from Georgia of the province, along with another rebel republic, Abkhazia. He also faces criticism for failure to carry out democratic reforms promised after the 2003 "Rose Revolution" that brought him to power.

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