Police clash with protesters in Tbilisi
Riot police clashed briefly with stone-throwing protesters in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, as tension rises in the country ahead of local elections, PRESS TV reported.
Georgia's opposition party has denounced a new holiday introduced by the government as glorification of the security services and a further proof that the former Soviet republic is becoming a "police state."
Police with truncheons pushed back a crowd of several hundred anti-government protesters during a police parade addressed by President Mikhail Saakashvili on the outskirts of Tbilisi.
Opposition leaders claim that police struck some protesters with batons, saying at least five people have been injured.
Saakashvili addressed the ceremony outside the Interior Ministry's headquarters, where some 4,000 police marched and armored vehicles drove in formation.
The May 30 local elections are the first vote since Georgia's brief war with Russia in 2008.
Saakashvili's popularity has been dwindling since the war, in which Georgia suffered a defeat from Russia.