News 23 february — 16:23

Georgian police storm opposition HQ to arrest leader Nika Melia

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Georgian police stormed the headquarters of the main opposition party in the early hours on Tuesday to arrest its chairman Nika Melia, Euronews reports.

A Tbilisi court last week ruled to place Melia, who is accused of organizing “mass violence” during anti-government protests in 2019, in pre-trial detention.

Former Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia, who resigned last week over the court ruling to arrest Melia, said arresting the opposition leader could lead to further escalation of political crisis and threaten the well-being of the country’s citizens.

Supporters of the opposition parties spent the night at the United National Movement headquarters in a bid to prevent Melia's detention.

Police used tear gas as Melia's supporters attempted to barricade the door of the room where the opposition figure was sheltering. Dozens of opposition supporters were also arrested.

Euronews Georgia correspondent Davit Kekenadze, reporting from the capital, Tbilisi, said the new PM had warned that “justice will be served and Melia won’t be able to hide."

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