Georgian opposition party members beaten in Georgia

Three activists from the left-leaning Georgian opposition party Justice claimed Thursday that they had been beaten in separate incidents, and they blamed police.

Anzor Mezvrishvili, a party organizer in Soviet dictator Josef Stalin's hometown of Gori, said he had been beaten by several men outside his home Wednesday evening.

"I began to call for help, but they told me that no one would help because they were police officers," he said on Rustavi-2 television.

Interior Ministry spokesman Guram Donadze called the accusations "absurd."

The party contends that the alleged beatings are tied with a looming Oct. 5 deadline it set for the government to deliver on its social welfare promises, including timely payment of salaries and job creation. It has also accused the government of President Mikhail Saakashvili of authoritarianism.

The party declared at a June meeting that, if the government does not make good on the promises of the autumn 2003 "Rose Revolution" by Oct. 5, it would unleash a series of peaceful protests in various regions to demand that Saakashvili and the parliament step down, the AP reports.

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