Ex-President Saakashvili arrested in Tbilisi
Former President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili was arrested in Tbilisi on the evening of October 1, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili announced at a special briefing.
According to Garibashvili, the law enforcement agencies had the information about his movement in advance, and the whole process was under full control.
Mikheil Saakashvili announced on the morning of October 1 on his Facebook page that he had already arrived in Batumi, Georgia. In response, the Georgian Interior Ministry issued an emergency statement claiming that officially the ex-president, who is on the wanted list for several criminal cases, did not cross the state border of the country. If this is confirmed, he will be arrested, the Interior Ministry said.
Right before the arrest, Mikheil Saakashvili managed to record a 28-second video in which he said that he would soon be arrested. “Most likely, they will arrest me in Tbilisi now, but do not be afraid of anything, go to the polls tomorrow, vote, and together we will celebrate the victory on October 3. I am firm, I came to help you, I am not afraid of anything, and you have nothing to fear too”, Saakashvili said in the video.
Ex-president Saakashvili claims he is in Georgia, urges people to vote against ruling party
Has ex-president Saakashvili arrived in Georgia or not is the question that is now being actively discussed in Georgia after the video message he posted and the emergency statement of the authorities refuting his claims
In the afternoon of October 1, Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili commented on the excitement around the ex-president’s arrival. She stated that “the responsibility for maintaining a peaceful and free electoral environment lies in the hands of the government”.
“Mockery and ridicule on the part of the government regarding Saakashvili’s visit to Georgia is unacceptable […] Whoever replicates and speculates on this topic does not care about the country or fair elections, but relies on destabilization.
Saakashvili urges citizens to come to peaceful elections, but his calls to go to rallies after the October 3 elections and his other actions actually suggest that instead of elections, preparations are being made for other actions.
On the other hand, the reaction of the authorities is not what it should be like, what the society expects, and what will calm it down and return it to the pre-election mood. Comments should come today not from the party, but from state bodies, which are obliged to present facts and calm the situation. Bullying is not the answer; in such cases, people begin to question the effectiveness of government structures in the country.
The time of civil strife is over, and no one should play with this fire. We are talking about the country and its future. I do not believe that this time will return, because our citizens are much wiser than politicians”, the President of Georgia said.