Passions About Freedom Of Speech Are Running High In Georgian Parliament

Passions are running high in the Georgian Parliament, which is discussing the freedom of speech. The extraordinary parliamentary session gathered on Thursday to address the recent attempt by special services to conduct a search at the independent television company Rustavi 2. A day earlier, Vakhtang Kutateladze, the Minister of National Defence of Georgia, resigned because of this incident. However, this did not satisfy the participants in a rally in support of the freedom of speech in Tbilisi. Zurab Zhvania, the Chairman of the Georgian Parliament, confirmed on Wednesday that the question of the responsibility of the Minister of the Interior, Kakhi Targamadze, and Prosecutor General Gii Meparishvili would also be raised at the session. At the end of the day, the parliament is expected to adopt a regulation. One of the drafts of the regulation, submitted by the factions Novye Pravye /New Rightists/ and Sotsialist /Socialist/, calls for the entire government to step down. Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze gave a life address on the state television last night. He stated that if the people responsible were punished, they would have "no moral right to stay at their positions." He said that Wednesday night he met with the leaders of parliamentary factions and told them that he considered himself responsible. Mr. Shevardnadze referred to the events around Rustavi 2 as to "a devious political plotting aimed at change of power, including the president." In his opinion, this situation tells him that Georgia is on the brink of a coup d'etat.

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