Police in Georgia storm opposition party offices, arrest popular leader Melia
MOSCOW (RUSSIA) – Georgian opposition leader Nika Melia was detained early on Tuesday after police stormed his party offices. This comes days after the prime minister stepped down following a disagreement over whether to take the politician into custody.
Melia, who is the chairman of the United National Movement (UNM), was accused of stoking violence during street protests in June 2019, a charge he has dismissed as politically motivated.
A Tbilisi court ordered last week that the leader be arrested for allegedly failing to post bail. At the time, the interior ministry said it was withholding the decision to arrest him following the resignation of Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia.
Footage published by the Sputnik Georgia showed Melia barricaded inside a room in the UNM offices with some of his aides while opposition activists clashed with police outside.
“We call on both the representatives of political parties and their supporters to protest in a peaceful manner, to refrain from violent actions and not interfere with the court’s decision,” Sputnik Georgia quoted the Interior Ministry as saying.