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Georgian Police Arrest Top Opposition Leader, Use Tear Gas In Party HQ Raid

Georgian police arrested the opposition’s top leader on Tuesday and used tear gas in a violent assault on party headquarters, further deepening the political crisis fought in last year’s parliamentary elections.

A live television broadcast showed that Nika Melia, the leader of the United National Movement, the country’s main opposition, was pulled out of party headquarters and detained before the trial.

Meanwhile, hundreds of riot police have used tear gas against his supporters and leaders of all opposition parties in the country that have been camp in the building since Wednesday, live photos from Mtavari TV showed.

Many opposition supporters were detained.

Giorgi Pataraia, one of UNM’s leaders, told AFP that police “stolen a computer server” from UNM headquarters.

“The police used proportional force and special means” in the police operation, the Georgia Interior Ministry said in a statement.





The court ordered Melia to be placed in pretrial detention after refusing to pay an increase in bail.
AFP / Vano Shlamov

“I was shocked by the UNM headquarters scene this morning,” British Ambassador Mark Clayton wrote on Twitter.

“Violence and turmoil in Tbilisi is the last thing Georgia needs right now. I urge all sides to act restrained now and for the next few days.”

Georgia has been on the verge of a political crisis since the parliamentary elections last October. Opposition accused it of fraud after the ruling George Andreem party claimed victory.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Giorgi Gacaria resigned from George Andrew’s plan to arrest Melia.

The news of the plan caused anger between opposition and warnings from the Western allies of the former Soviet Union.



Garibashibiri confirmed as prime minister by parliament on Monday


Garibashibiri confirmed as prime minister by parliament on Monday
AFP / Vano SHLAMOV

Last week, a court in Tbilisi ordered Melia to be put in pretrial detention after refusing to pay an increase in bail prior to a hearing in a case related to a 2019 anti-government demonstration.

He was charged with “organizing mass violence” during protests and faces up to nine years in prison.

Melia, 41, rejected the case for political motives.

The detention order raised stakes in the crisis over the disputed elections.

Opposition lawmakers refused to occupy a seat in the new parliament with a boycott that weighs heavily on the ruling party’s political legitimacy.

They demanded a new poll.

Georgia’s new prime minister, Irakli Garibashibiri, confirmed in parliament on Monday, said in a speech to lawmakers that his government would proceed with the arrest of Melia, politicians “cannot hide from justice.” Stated.

Garibashibiri is a loyal lieutenant of the powerful oligarch, Vizina Ivanishvili, who is widely regarded as the head of Georgia, despite having no official political role.

Analysts said the swirling political crisis in Georgia had serious consequences for fledgling democracy and was unlikely to be resolved without greater diplomatic involvement from Tbilisi’s western allies.

Matthew Briza, a senior researcher at the Atlantic Council, a U.S. think tank, said Georgia’s “democratic retreat” under Georgia’s dream was “oppositions seat in Congress for democracy. I’m saying I can’t take it. ” It’s broken in Georgia. “

“Without Western mediation, the situation could be very dangerous,” said a former diplomat who coordinated US Caucasus policy under former President Bush’s administration.

The United States and the European Union have expressed concern over plans to arrest Melia and urged the Georgian government to peacefully resolve the crisis and ensure that the judicial system is free from political prejudice.

Georgian Dream, which has been in power since 2012, has been declining in popularity as it has been unable to cope with the economic stagnation and is perceived as a recession in its democratic efforts.

Critics have accused the country’s wealthiest man, Ivanishvili, of persecuting political opponents and creating a corrupt system in which private interests permeate politics.



Georgian Police Arrest Top Opposition Leader, Use Tear Gas In Party HQ Raid Source link Georgian Police Arrest Top Opposition Leader, Use Tear Gas In Party HQ Raid

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