- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 3, 2007


Police attack anti-Putin rally

ST. PETERSBURG — Police violently broke up an unauthorized opposition rally in Russia’s second-largest city yesterday, clubbing dozens of activists before dragging them into buses.

Several thousand members of liberal and leftist groups chanted “shame” as they marched down St. Petersburg’s main avenue to protest what they said was Russia’s rollback from democracy under President Vladimir Putin.

Riot police beat dozens of protesters with truncheons, but thousands broke through police cordons. They marched toward the city center and rallied for about 40 minutes until police moved in again, detaining people and dragging them into buses.


Ex-president’s body exhumed for autopsy

GROZNY, Russia — The body of a former Georgian president who was overthrown in 1992 and died the following year under mysterious circumstances was unearthed yesterday in the Chechen capital, his son said.

Zviad Gamsakhurdia was elected as Georgia’s first president in 1991 but was overthrown in a popular uprising in January 1992. He fled to Chechnya, where he was friends with local leaders, then returned to Georgia where he led an unsuccessful rebellion aimed at returning to power.

At the time of this death in 1993, his widow said her husband committed suicide after being surrounded by troops loyal to his archrival, Georgian leader Eduard Shevardnadze. Georgian officials contended that Mr. Gamsakhurdia was shot by his own supporters during a quarrel.

Prosecutors and forensic analysts prepared to examine the remains to investigate the cause of the former leader’s death.


Pope names new archbishop

WARSAW — Pope Benedict XVI has named Bishop Kazimierz Nycz the new archbishop of Warsaw, the Polish Episcopate said yesterday, filling a post left open when his predecessor resigned after admitting to ties with the communist-era secret police.

Bishop Nycz, the 57-year-old bishop of Koszalin-Kolobrzeg in northern Poland, replaces former Warsaw Archbishop Stanislaw Wielgus, who abruptly stepped down at what was to be his installation Mass on Jan. 7 after admitting he cooperated with the communist-era secret police.

Stories of compromised priests largely lay dormant until after John Paul’s death in 2005, with some saying people were reluctant to raise the issue of collaboration in the Polish church for fear of embarrassing him.


Protests continue over squatter evictions

COPENHAGEN — Some 3,000 people demonstrated yesterday against the closure of an abandoned building that has served as a center for anarchists, leftists and punk rockers, following two nights of riots that left parts of the Danish capital strewn with burning cars and shattered glass.

More than 500 people, including scores of foreigners, have been arrested since the riots started Thursday. Authorities said 207 persons were arrested early yesterday following overnight clashes in which demonstrators pelted police with cobblestones and set fire to cars.

Demonstrators marched peacefully yesterday. Police braced for more rioting overnight.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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