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11 December 2017

Saakashvili arrested, supporters protest, the question ‘what’s next?’ remains unanswered

Piotr Andrusieczko

This time the police (and not the previously used Security Service of Ukraine) carried out an efficient action to stop Mikheil Saakashvili, who was found in one of the apartments in Kiev. Three days have passed since the first arrest attempt of the former President of Georgia. He spent those days quite close to the buildings of Ukrainian Parliament although he was on the wanted list back then.

Sakashvili was arrested in the evening of December 8. The leader of the Movement of New Forces was immediately taken to the jail of the Security Service of Ukraine , located near the Arsenalna underground station in the centre of Kiev.

To put behind the bars at all costs or to give a political perspective?

After the first unsuccessful attempt to capture Saakashvili, arresting him was a matter of the reputation of the Ukrainian law enforcement agencies. The question is, whether detaining the leader of the Movement of New Forces will not strengthen his political position?

Saakashvili’s supporters arrived at the place of his detention on Friday night. However, the slogan ‘Kiev get up!’, known from the Maidan days, was not answered by many people. There were between 100 to 150 Saakahvili’s followers .

-Misha! Misha! Glory to Ukraine! – people were shouting.

One of the driveways to the headquarters of the SBU was blocked by the protesters using a provisory garbage cans barricade. Police and the National Guard troops were brought into place. There were some arguments, but generally it was calm.

The closest Saakashvili’s associates came near the buildings of the jail, including Dawid Sakwarelidze , a former deputy of the Prosecutor General of Georgia and Ukraine, who announced the continuation of the protests.

Saakashvili, thanks to his lawyers, issued an appeal to the Ukrainians to participate in a Sunday march, organized on December 10. The main slogan of the protest was ‘For Impeachement’ .

It seems that Saakashvili’s appeal had its impact. According to various estimates, there could be between 10,000 to 15,000. people on Sunday’s march. The police claimed that not more than 3,000 people participated in the event, but it was the biggest demonstration of Saakashvili’s supporters from the moment he began to organize street protests in Kiev.

The demonstration marched from the Shevchenko Park to Independence Square (Maidan Nezalezhnosti) where the stage was set.

– Jura out, Jura out! – it was one of the many slogans that were shouted from the stage by the organizers and it specifically referred to the Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko.

Later some of the protesters went to the jail where Saakashvili was kept. They were accompanied by a car with the sound equipment. Some participants made a short stop near the buildings of presidential administration and shouted some slogans against Petro Poroshenko.

Then the Ukrainian anthem was sung , and the protesters chanted: ‘Misha, Misha!’, ‘Disgrace! ‘Freedom for Misha, arrest Poroshenko!’

The organizers of the protest were speaking not only about Saakashvili, but also about the attack of Ukrainian authorities on the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine. They accused the President and the Prosecutor General of protecting the corruption system in Ukraine.

Some of the demonstrators blocked a located nearby confectionery shop called Roshen , which is owned by President Poroshenko. The shop was surrounded by the police, some snowballs were thrown towards the windows, there were some arguments with the services.

Next the protesters went to the headquarters of the General Prosecutor’s Office. Generally, the demonstration was peaceful, and the organizers promised further actions and even more participants.

On December 11, the court should decide what judicial measures will be taken against Saakashvili. The General Prosecutor’s Office informed it would apply for home detention. Although when the former President of Georgia was detained for the first time, he was seriously alleged to support the coup d’état. What’s more, serious measures were taken at that time, as befits a dangerous criminal. The operation was then carried out by the Security Service of Ukraine, but it was amazingly unsuccessful…

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