Georgian opposition party United National Movement begins protests
UNM boycotts parliament
After a court in Tbilisi refused to release Georgia’s third president, Mikheil Saakashvili, for health reasons, the country’s main opposition party, the United National Movement, declared a state of emergency.
“Officers from the Georgian Dream [Georgian ruling party] will not rest,” UNM chairman Levan Khabeishvili said. After meeting with other party leaders, he talked about plans for the future and said that the UNM would stop working in the country’s parliament and begin mass protests in the streets and near the houses of members of the ruling party.
“I appeal to the leaders of local organizations of our party. Tomorrow we are waiting for everyone in Tbilisi. The capital of Georgia will become the center of the protest. Actions will also be planned in the regions. In addition, the National Movement is no longer going to participate in parliament. We are going to meet with our international partners and ambassadors to increase pressure on the Georgian Dream and save the life of Mikheil Saakashvili,” Khabeishvili said.
Members and supporters of the National Movement will go to the residence of Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, UNM member Giorgi Chaladze said.
“Now is the time to prepare for the struggle for a peaceful future of our country. The next step will be announced in half an hour at Garibashvili’s house,” Chaladze said.
Former National Movement chairwoman Nika Melia says he will try to mend burnt bridges between the UNM and other opposition parties:
“Now it is not easy to consolidate around Mikheil Saakashvili. I am sure that there would be many leaders of the opposition parties here today if we had not disgraced ourselves. But I promise the voters of the party that it is my civic duty, like others, to fight for the salvation of Mikheil Saakashvili, and this does not require a party position.”
- ‘The decline of democracy in Georgia is alarming’ – US Senate Committee
- Georgian version of the “Magnitsky list”
According to family members and lawyers, Mikheil Saakashvili began a rapid process of cachexia. The conclusion of the Ombudsman’s Council on health of Mikheil Saakashvili also refers to cachexia of the fourth degree and notes that he should be transferred to a multidisciplinary clinic abroad.
On December 29, 2022, American toxicologist David Smith was interrogated as a witness at Saakashvili’s trial. According to Smith, Saakashvili was poisoned with heavy metals in prison before being transferred to the Vivamed clinic.
The American toxicologist said that he had familiarized himself with Saakashvili’s medical record, the results of laboratory tests, as well as analysis of samples of hair, nails and blood.