Saakashvili’s release and early elections: perpetual mass protest announced in Tbilisi
Release of detained and hunger-striking ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili and the appointment of early parliamentary elections are the main demands which the opposition voiced on November 8 during a large-scale protest and where it also announced indefinite rallies throughout Georgia.
“The protest will be powerful, large-scale, long-lasting and peaceful”, said Nika Melia, one of the leaders of the opposition United National Movement (party founded by Mikhail Saakashvili) at the protest on Freedom Square in Tbilisi ).
Melia was the only speaker at the November 8 rally.
He said that with this rally, the opposition switched to a new strategy of struggle – indefinite protests in the center of the capital and in various regions of Georgia:
“We will not leave, the streets of Tbilisi will be filled until you return the stolen elections, until the health and life of Mikhail Saakashvili are secured and until he is released from prison”.
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After his speech, the protesters, at his insistence, marched to the government building to picket there.
Two hours before the rally, it became known that Mikheil Saakashvili was transferred to the Gldani prison hospital by the Ministry of the Execution of Sentences.
The ex-president himself and the civil society categorically opposed his transfer of to the Gldanin prison. The Public Defender has repeatedly stated that the former president would not be provided with necessary conditions for treatment in the Gldani prison hospital.
Nika Melia said that the government decided to transfer Saakashvili to Gldanin prison specifically to aggravate the situation. However, he stressed that the rally at the Gldani prison will not take place, because it is part of the provocation of the government, which should not be followed by the public.
Melia did not disclose more detailed information about the opposition’s action plan in the coming days. He stated that he was not going to disclose all the details to Bidzina Ivanishvili in advance. However, he said it would be a war of nerves.
“But we have to win this war without the civil unrest”, Melia said.
Mikheil Saakashvili was arrested on October 1 in Tbilisi after he secretly returned to his homeland.
Several criminal cases have been launched against the third president of Georgia. He was convicted and charged in two of them.
The ex-president, with the status of a wanted person, was transferred to prison No. 12 in Rustavi immediately after his arrest. On the same evening, he went on a hunger strike.