Georgia Lawmakers in Emergency Session, Urge Calm in Republic

Associated Press

Georgia's Parliament met in emergency session Sunday and appealed to the southern republic's citizens to refrain from violence in their political dispute.

President Zviad Gamsakhurdia called the Parliament into session after at least one person was killed and more than 80 were injured in clashes Saturday in Tbilisi, capital of the republic of more than 5 million people.

Some opposition leaders and legislators boycotted the session.

During a stormy debate that began Saturday night and lasted into Sunday, opposition lawmakers demanded that Gamsakhurdia resign and that the republic restore freedom of the press, according to reports from Tbilisi.

The Parliament then adopted a resolution calling on all citizens "to demonstrate responsibility and avoid all actions of violence." It also called on Georgians to "be guided by the interests of unity and peace," the Iprinda news agency said.

During the session, thousands of Gamsakhurdia supporters rallied near Parliament, accusing the opposition of staging an armed putsch with the aim of overthrowing the president.

Gamsakhurdia's press secretary, Georgy Burdzhunadze, told the Russian Information Agency that the lawmakers decided to continue their session "until decisions capable of leading the country out of the deadlock will be adopted."

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