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Georgian Opposition May Seek Russian Military Support, RFE Says

May 24 (Bloomberg) -- Georgian opposition groups expect to get military support from Russian forces deployed in Georgia’s two breakaway regions, Radio Tavisupleba reported, citing an interview with Deputy Prime Minister Giorgi Baramidze.

Opposition leader Nino Burjanadze is using anti-government protests to boost her approval rating, the Georgian-language service of U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe cited Baramidze as saying in an interview.

President Mikheil Saakashvili’s government acted “legitimately” in preventing the protesters from entering the state television headquarters in Tbilisi and Batumi, Baramidze said, according to the radio station.

The accusations are “nothing but a black PR campaign from Baramidze,” Burjanadze told reporters in Moscow today via video link from Tbilisi.

“If any party in Georgia is relying on the Russian army, then it’s nothing but betrayal of your own country,” Burjanadze said. “They need to present reliable documents to prove such a thing.”

Protests continued for a fourth day in Tbilisi today as several dozen people gathered in the streets for a 3 p.m. rally in the capital, Shota Utiashvili, an Interior Ministry spokesman, said today in a phone interview from the capital.

To contact the reporter on this story: Helena Bedwell in Tbilisi at hbedwell@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net

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