Georgian Police Arrest top Opposition Leader, Deepening Political Crisis

2/25/2021

Thousands of anti-government protesters rallied in Georgia on Tuesday after the arrest of opposition leader, Nika Melia, deepening a political crisis that erupted after disputed elections last year. Hundreds of riot police used tear gas against Melia's supporters who were camped out at his United National Movement party's headquarters in the capital Tbilisi before he was arrested in an overnight police raid and placed in pre-trial detention.

Georgia has been in the grip of a political crisis since parliamentary elections in October, which opposition parties slammed as rigged after the Georgian Dream party claimed a narrow victory. In power since 2012, the Georgian Dream party has seen its popularity fall over a failure to address economic stagnation and perceived backsliding on commitments to democracy.

Opposition members have refused to take up their seats in the new parliament, in a boycott that had weighed heavily on the ruling party's political legitimacy.

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Outlet: 
France 24