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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Georgian Protests End For Summer

TBILISI, Georgia — Georgia’s opposition, struggling to muster support for a campaign to oust President Mikheil Saakashvili, said Friday that it was suspending protests over the summer.

Protest leader and former presidential challenger Levan Gachechiladze said they had not given up. “Consultations will be held and a strategy worked out for the future battle,” he told a small rally in front of the parliament.

He said protests would be suspended until the fall. The announcement followed the reopening of the capital’s central avenue to traffic, after police cleared dozens of mock prison cells blocking the road since early April.

A disparate opposition alliance took to the streets on April 9 to demand that Saakashvili quit over his record on democracy and last year’s war with Russia, when a Georgian assault on breakaway South Ossetia was crushed.

Opponents accuse the pro-Western leader of monopolizing power, stifling the media and compromising the judiciary since coming to power in 2003.

But demonstrations fizzled out weeks ago. Analysts always doubted that the alliance had the strength to oust Saakashvili and criticized its focus on the man rather than the system.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden delivered a speech to the Georgian parliament Thursday, balancing a pledge of support for Georgia with a call for the country to improve its democracy.