Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Warns of events in the Quartet: The Kremlin is watching


“The US embassy is deeply concerned about the decision of the Sacartwell government to detain the leader of the main opposition party at party headquarters this morning. We regret that the calls from the United States and other international partners to refrain from dialogue have been ignored, “the American diplomacy said.

The statement added that “coercive methods and aggression cannot be a way to resolve political differences”.

The embassy called Sakartwell’s leaders’ remarks about the opposition’s detention “divisive rhetoric.”

U.S. diplomats believe Tbilisi has taken a step back from the democratic course.

The statement by the United National Movement (UNJ) states that the arrest “marks a tragic moment for Sakartwell’s democracy” and calls on the international community to help de-escalate the situation.

The United States (US) Embassy in Sakartvele issued a security warning to its staff to avoid potential “violent demonstrations” after calling for Georgian Gacharia to “control” himself.

Melia’s arrest was commented on by General Ben Hodges, the former commander of the U.S. Land Forces in Europe.

“It simply came to our notice then. The people who benefit from it are only in the Kremlin. Among them are Bidzina Ivanishvili and those close to him. There is nothing good for Sakartvelians here, especially for young people. I hope President Joe Biden will take a tough line on this. The Kremlin is watching, “the general wrote.

Michael Carpenter, a former deputy chief of the Pentagon and director of the Penn Biden Center for Analytics at the University of Pennsylvania, called the events “very serious.”

“There is a very serious course of events in Sakartvele, including the assault on the headquarters of the opposition party. I hope that common sense will prevail and it will be possible to de-escalate the situation, ”wrote M. Carpenter on Twitter.

“I am overwhelmed by the scenes at VNJ’s headquarters this morning,” Mark Clayton, the UK’s ambassador, wrote on Twitter. – Sakartvel now needs the least violence and chaos. I call on all parties to exercise restraint now and in the coming days. “

The Sacarvelo opposition promises to protest against the arrest of the opposition leader

The situation at VNJ headquarters, where party chairman N. Melia was arrested a little earlier, is relatively calm, police are leaving the area where the operation took place and dozens of opposition supporters are near the office.

Earlier in Tuesday, Sakartwell police arrested the country’s main opposition leader, Nikanor Melia, during a special forces raid at his party headquarters,

Opposition officials told reporters that police, along with Melia, had detained several other supporters.

As Chatija Dekanoidze, one of the leaders of the VNJ, told reporters, the opposition continues to fight the “regime”.

“It simply came to our notice then. The fight against the regime will continue with new forces and this power will collapse very soon, “said Ch. Decanoidosis.

According to her, a massive anti-government protest will take place near the State Chancellery building in the coming hours, and the release of N. Melija will be demanded.

At the time, Iraklis Kobachidze, chairman of the ruling Sakartwell Dream party, said the operation to detain the opposition leader was “exemplary”.

He thanked the police for their ability to “arrest Melia” in an exemplary manner and without excessive force.

“Responding to radicals, enforcing the law and protecting the constitutional order is the only way to end the polarization in Sakartwell’s politics and to develop democratic processes in the right direction,” Kobachidze said.

Earlier on Tuesday, a live television broadcast showed Mr Melia, led by an opposition party founded by former President Mikheil Saakashvili, being dragged out of party headquarters.

Last Wednesday, the Tbilisi City Court granted the prosecutor’s request to change the pre-trial detention order for Melia to arrest. The leader of the VNJ refused to pay the bail, stating that the criminal case against him in connection with the anti-government demonstrations in 2019 was “political persecution”.

Mr Melia faces up to nine years in prison if convicted of organizing mass unrest during those protests.

The court’s decision to arrest Melia last week forced the resignation of Prime Minister Georgy Gachary.

VNJ activists told reporters that police special forces that had invaded their party building used tear gas. Several opposition supporters were reportedly injured during the raid. About two dozen people were detained.

As seen on Mtavari TV, hundreds of riot police officers were also using tear gas to support Melia’s supporters and leaders of all opposition parties who had set up a protest camp at the VNJ headquarters since last Wednesday.

Sakartwell has been experiencing a political crisis since the October parliamentary elections, which opposition parties consider to be rigged.

News of intent to arrest Melia provoked outrage from the opposition, and Caucasus allies in the West warned Tbilisi.

Following Gacharia’s resignation, the opposition called for early parliamentary elections.

Last week, the US and the EU called on the Sakartwell government to resolve the crisis peacefully and to ensure that there is no political bias in the country’s judicial system.

In Sakartwell, the capital, ambulance brigade medics provided medical assistance to 17 people injured Tuesday morning in clashes with police at VNJ headquarters, the health ministry said.

The ministry said 15 people were severely affected and given assistance on the spot. The two victims were taken to one of the capital’s medical facilities.

Nikanoras Melija

Nikanoras Melija

According to a SAM report, one of the hospitalized individuals has already left the hospital and the other will be released home a little later on Tuesday.

On Tuesday morning, Interior Ministry staff staged an arrest operation for Nikanor Melia, the leader of the opposition, VNJ chairman. Opposition supporters gathered at the party’s headquarters tried unsuccessfully to prevent police from arresting Melia.

The Ministry of the Interior noted that the police used proportionate force against opposition supporters. More than 20 people were detained for failing to follow the instructions of police officers.

Warns of events in the Quartet: The Kremlin is watching

Sakartwell has been experiencing a political crisis since the October parliamentary elections, which opposition parties consider to be rigged.

Last Wednesday, the Tbilisi City Court granted the prosecutor’s request to change the pre-trial detention order for Melia to arrest. The leader of the VNJ refused to pay the bail, stating that the criminal case against him in connection with the anti-government demonstrations in 2019 was “political persecution”.

Mr Melia faces up to nine years in prison if convicted of organizing mass unrest during those protests.

The court’s decision to arrest Melia last week forced the resignation of Prime Minister Georgy Gachary.

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