A Georgian opposition party protest in the capital of Tbilisi was violently broken down by riot police, who used tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon to disperse several hundred demonstrators, who demanded the resignation of President Mikheil Saakashvili.
The overnight crackdown on anti-government protesters led to killing of a policeman and another person, according to BBC News report. Both victims were killed by a speeding car, which President Mikheil Saakashvili said had been in a convoy carrying opposition leaders. Nearly 40 people were also injured as riot police cleared protesters ahead of independence day events.
Emergency workers were attending several people with blood on their faces, after protesters ran away from a demonstration outside the parliament building in central Tbilisi in the early hours of Thursday morning, a Reuters report said.
Hundreds of opposition supporters have been protesting daily all week, demanding the president's resignation and for early elections. Opponents accuse him of monopolising power since the 2003 Rose Revolution that ousted the post-Soviet old guard in the Caucasus state, where pipelines carry Caspian oil to the West. Weakened by losing a brief war with Russia in August 2008, Saakashvili has since reasserted control.
Clashes broke out with some of the protesters who were armed with long sticks and makeshift shields, while some of the protesters seemed set on creating havoc, a BBC News report said. Within about 30 minutes, the area around parliament had been cleared. 28 protesters and nine policemen had been treated for injuries, police told BBC News.
Take a look at the photos of protests that turned violent in Tbilisi, Georgia: