Tbilisi schools, universities suspend classes for 2 days
( RIA Novosti ) - Schools and universities in Georgia's capital have cancelled classes for Thursday and Friday, following the president's declaration of a 15-day nationwide state of emergency.
President Mikhail Saakashvili made the announcement after riot police cracked down on mass protests in the capital, Tbilisi. Thousands of protesters had rallied in the city center for six days, calling for the president's resignation.
Georgian Education and Science Minister Alexander Lomaia told the Mze TV channel late on Wednesday: "In view of the current developments in Tbilisi, the ministry decided to cancel classes at schools and universities in the capital. We hope life in the capital will return to normal, and the education process will be resumed on Monday,"
The minister said the situation in the city was now stable, and under police control.
On Wednesday police used tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets to disperse opposition supporters, and troops were deployed on the streets.
A total of 508 people were injured in clashes with the police, and 94 protesters remain in hospital, the country's Health Ministry said on Thursday.
Parliament will consider the presidential decree on imposing state of emergency later today. The decree envisages a temporary ban on rallies, and limits media broadcasts to state outlets.
Before announcing the state of emergency, President Saakashvili blamed "high ranking officials in Russian special services" for the unrest, and said several Russian diplomats would be expelled from Georgia for spying.