Georgian authorities threaten opposition with criminal sentences for street protests
Protests in Tbilisi in support of Saakashvili
On November 15, several more protests were held in Tbilisi with the same demand: to transfer ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili to a multidisciplinary hospital, where he will be able receive adequate treatment. Saakashvili’s health is deteriorating amid 45 days of hunger strike in prison, his doctors, =lawyers and the Georgian ombudsman warn.
The opposition blocked both embankments of the capital.
One of the rallies took place in front of the city court, where the so-called “Jacket case” was being considered. This is one of the five cases brought up against Saakashvili. The case concerns the purchase of six jackets for the president at the expense of the state, as well as a lunch at a sushi bar.
The penitentiary service once again refused to allow Saakashvili to attend his trial, much to the chagrin of his supporters.
Regular small or large protest rallies in support of ensuring normal treatment for Saakashvili have been taking place in different cities of Georgia for several days.
The protest of doctors took place in Kutaisi. A rally organized by the women’s movement took place in front of the State Chancellery in Tbilisi.
On November 15, the Georgian Interior Ministry issued a warning in regards to the opposition rallies, in particular, to the decision to block the embankments, claiming that “such actions are punishable by a prison term of up to three years”.
The opposition interpreted this statement as “an intention to arrest peaceful demonstrators”. Opposition leaders declare their intention to expand the geography of the protests and make them more widespread in the future.
The leader of the Droa party, MP Elene Khoshtaria has been on a hunger strike in parliament for 13 days, demanding that Saakashvili be transferred to a multidisciplinary hospital. On November 14, ten more opposition MPs and politicians, as well as a doctor, Willie Pachkoria, joined her.