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Mass protests in Georgia aim to unseat Saakashvili

As many as 100,000 people are expected to demonstrate Thursday against the president.

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A coalition of 13 Georgian political opposition parties will take to the streets of Tbilisi Thursday to stage open-ended demonstrations aimed at unseating President Mikheil Saakashvili, whom they accuse of betraying the promise of 2003's "Rose Revolution," building a personal dictatorship, causing mass impoverishment, and leading the country into a disastrous war with Russia last summer.

The prospect of mass protests has raised fears about the stability of Georgia, a troubled nation of 5 million straddling the Caucasus Mountains. Despite cyclical street revolts since gaining independence from the USSR in 1991, Georgia has never yet managed to effect a constitutional handover of power from one president to the next.

Mr. Saakashvili's opponents say they will bring as many as 100,000 people into Tbilisi's main street Thursday, the biggest display of public anger since three weeks of rolling demonstrations forced former president Eduard Shevardnadze to resign nearly six years ago.

Divided opposition

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