(Associated Press) TBILISI, Georgia — Street protests against the brutal abuse of prisoners escalated Thursday in the Georgian capital, fueling anger against the Western-allied government and possibly boosting support for the opposition before a tight parliamentary election.
President Mikhail Saakashvili has sought to defuse the tensions by removing the Cabinet ministers most blamed for the abuse and completely reshuffling prison personnel.
Two days after television stations aired videos of guards beating inmates and raping them with truncheons and brooms, thousands rallied outside the Interior Ministry and the Tbilisi prison where the abuse occurred. The protesters, some carrying brooms, then marched down the capital's main avenue to the presidential palace to demand the ouster of the interior minister.
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