The video shows Melia, the leader of the largest opposition party, being removed from the party’s headquarters. Hundreds of police officers used tear gas against Melia’s supporters and leaders of all opposition parties who had set up camp at the party’s headquarters since last Wednesday. Many opposition supporters were also detained.
“The scenes at ENM’s headquarters are in shock this morning,” British Ambassador Mark Clayton wrote on Twitter. “Violence and chaos are the last thing Georgia needs right now. I urge all parties to exercise restraint now and in the coming days.”
Melia is accused of organizing mass violence during protests against the government in 2019. If convicted, the politician faces nine years in prison. Melia denies the accusations against him as politically motivated.
The protests in 2019 were triggered by a visit by a delegation of Russian parliamentarians, during which a representative of the Russian State Duma delegation took over the chairmanship of the meeting on religious and political issues in the plenary hall of the Georgian Parliament.
The authorities’ plan to detain Melia has exacerbated the political crisis in Georgia since the October parliamentary elections.
Georgia’s dream won the election, but opposition claims fraud in the election process. Opposition officials refused to take their seats in parliament and called for new elections.
The United States and the European Union last week urged the Georgian government to resolve the crisis peacefully and to ensure that the justice system is free from political engagement.
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