Zurabishvili explains why she interrupts her visit to Belarus

 Zurabishvili explains why she interrupts her visit to Belarus

Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili explained at the meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko that she interrupted her visit to Minsk due to the events in Tbilisi.

"Even though your visit is quite brief this time, I very much hope that you will find time in the near future to visit not only Minsk, but to tour our Belarus, too," Lukashenko said at the start of the meeting.

In Minsk, Zurabishvili was expected to attend the opening ceremony of the Second European Games.

Several thousand protesters converged on the parliament in downtown Tbilisi yesterday, demanding the resignation of the interior minister and the parliament’s speaker, and tried to storm the building. In response, police used tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons to disperse the demonstrators. According to Georgian media, dozens were detained. The country’s Health Ministry said that 52 people, including 38 police officers, suffered injuries.

The protests were sparked by an uproar over a Russian State Duma delegation’s participation in the 26th session of the Inter-parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy. On Thursday morning, IAO President Gavrilov opened the session in the Georgian parliament building. 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.

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