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Georgian Opposition Rally Attacked - 2003-11-07

Dozens of armed men opened fire on an opposition rally in a town outside the Georgian capital of Tbilisi. Several people are reported injured. The rally was called to protest alleged rigging of this week's parliamentary elections.

Gunfire from at least 30 unidentified men rang out at the opposition rally in the Georgian town of Zugdidi on Friday.

The rally was called by the opposition National Movement bloc, whose leader, Mikhail Saakashvili, had been due to arrive to address the crowd just moments before the shooting erupted.

Multiple opposition parties are demonstrating against last Sunday's election for a new parliament. They say it was riddled with ballot box stuffing and vote fraud. They also say the government is dragging out the vote count in order to manipulate the results.

With nearly 80 percent of the ballots counted, Georgia's Central Election Commission says President Eduard Shevardnadze's pro-reform bloc, called, For a New Georgia, still leads with 21 percent of the vote.

Running a close second is the Opposition Revival party, followed by Mr. Saakashvili's National Movement, which had been in second place for most of the week.