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Georgian Parliament Leader Resigns Over Mass Anti-Russian Protests

Irakli Kobakhidze Wikimedia Commons

The head of Georgia’s parliament has resigned after mass anti-Russian protests rocked the capital this week.

Thousands of protesters on Thursday tried to storm the Georgian parliament in Tbilisi after Russian lawmaker Sergei Gavrilov addressed an event for Orthodox Christian leaders in his native Russian from the parliamentary speaker's seat. Demonstrators violently clashed with police, resulting in more than 200 injuries.

Irakli Kobakhidze announced his resignation on Friday in response to protesters’ demands that he step down, the Russian state-run RIA Novosti news agency reported.

“This decision is a responsibility [I owe] to the people,” RIA quoted him as saying.

Officials from both Russia and Georgia, who have had strained ties since a brief 2008 war, traded barbs after the protest, with Georgian officials decrying Russian influence and Moscow calling the protest an “anti-Russian provocation” led by extremists.

Georgian opposition activists have announced plans for a second protest on Friday to demand the interior minister’s resignation and a change from the majority-proportional system of parliamentary elections, the Dozhd TV news channel reported.

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