Thu, 22 Apr 2021

Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili says he is not surprised by the current political turmoil engulfing the South Caucasus nation. In an interview with Current Time, he argued that it's the result of an ongoing crackdown on opponents of the government, including himself.

Police stormed the party offices of opposition leader Nika Melia and detained him on February 23, ratcheting up a crisis that gathered momentum when the prime minister resigned last week.

SEE ALSO: Five Things To Know About Georgia And The Political Crisis It's Slipping Toward

Melia's supporters had barricaded themselves in the offices, using furniture to block the doors. Scores of police surged into the building during the early morning raid in Tbilisi.

Seventeen people were reported to have been hurt in the scuffles between police and activists. Some activists were coughing and suffered eye irritation after police sprayed gas toward them from hand-held canisters. Melia, the United National Movement (ENM) party's chairman, has been accused of inciting violence at street protests in June 2019, a charge he dismisses as politically motivated.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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