The FINANCIAL -- Video footage showing prisoners
being abused by guards in Georgia has triggered anti-government
protests in the country.
Uniformed officers in Tbilisi 's jail are seen severely beating inmates and sexually assaulting one with a broom, BBC reports.
As Yahoo ! reported, hundreds of protesters blocked traffic in the centre of the capital, Tbilisi , overnight after two television stations aired on Tuesday graphic videos of guards abusing prisoners, including one in which a prisoner is raped with a police night stick.
As Yahoo ! reported, three prison officials have been arrested, and the Interior Ministry says they were paid for orchestrating and filming the abuse by an inmate with connections to opposition leader Bidzina Ivanishvili. Ivanishvili denies this.
The minister responsible for Georgia's prisons resigned Wednesday, and President Mikhail Saakashvili promised that all perpetrators of the abuse would be punished.
Georgia holds a tightly contested parliamentary election on Oct. 1.
The film showing abuse in the Gldani prison No. 8 was broadcast on TV on Tuesday, as BBC reported.
It triggered overnight protests in Tbilisi and also in the southern city of Batumi, Georgian media say.
In the capital, angry protesters demanded the resignation of Khatuna Kalmakhelidze, the minister in charge of prisons.
On Wednesday, Ms Kalmahelidze said she had decided to step down because her efforts to protect human rights in prisons had "proved insufficient".
President Mikheil Saakashvili expressed his anger and shock over the TV footage, promising to punish those responsible.
It has long been suspected that prisoners in Georgia are mistreated, our correspondent says.
When Mr Saakashvili swept to power after the Rose Revolution in 2004, he clamped down heavily on crime, and made the streets safe by locking up many of the criminals who had been running the former Soviet republic.
As BBC reported, his critics say Georgia has now swung to the other extreme, accusing his government of becoming authoritarian, our correspondent says.
The abuse video comes as Georgia is preparing for parliamentary elections on 1 October, seen as the biggest test facing the country's democracy since the revolution.
President Saakashvili 's party faces a challenge from Georgia's richest man, Bidzina Ivanishvili, who has vowed to oust the government from power.
With a reputation for benevolence and philanthropy, Mr Ivanishvili is popular among many poorer voters who are struggling in modern Georgia's neo-liberal economy, correspondents say.