Meanwhile, in Georgia, security forces have been cracking down on protests against laws demonstrators believe will lead them back into the embrace of Moscow.

International affairs editor Dominic Waghorn has this eyewitness report…

The Georgian security forces moved in shortly after dawn. Phalanxes of masked men sweeping through streets and parks outside parliament.  

They kettled protesters with force. We were caught in the crush as they squeezed the crowd. A woman screamed as she was pinned to a post by the press of people.  

Demonstrators had ringed the parliament building all night, intent on preventing access to MPs to block the passage of Putinesque laws they believed put their country on the path to dictatorship and back in the embrace of Moscow.

“They want to drag us back to autocracy to the country they occupied us for too many years,” one protester told Sky News. 

The police succeeded in clearing one entrance to parliament.

Flank after flank of interior ministry security forces, backed by helmeted riot police and water cannon trucks, are now in a tense standoff with a multicoloured sea of protesters on the corner of the parliament building.  

The blue and yellow colours of Ukraine and the European Union jostle with the red and white of Georgia’s national colours. 

The protesters have been peaceful but the police have not. They have unleashed snatch squads barrelling into the crowd.  

Sky News witnessed as masked security forces seized one man raining blows on his unprotected head.

The protesters have failed in their effort to cut off parliament from MPs but their numbers are swelling. 

“We will not give up,” one woman told us. 

“We cannot allow them to take our freedom.”

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