Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in Georgia on Wednesday in support of the ruling party, a few days before municipal elections to be held after the arrest of former president and opposition leader Mikheil Saakashvili.
At least 60,000 people gathered in the center of the capital Tbilisi in the evening in favor of the Georgian Dream Party, at the heart of the political crisis that has shaken this Caucasian country since its contested victory at the end of legislative elections organized in 2020 .
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According to the independent television station Pirveli TV, public service employees were forced to participate in the rally, failing to lose their jobs, while other demonstrators were taken by bus from various regions.
Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili during this rally called on his fellow citizens to vote for the ruling party, calling the United National Movement (UNM) of Mikheil Saakashvili, the main opposition movement, an “
President from 2004 to 2013 and still popular, Mikheïl Saakashvili, 53, returned on October 1 to Georgia after an eight-year exile.
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He was immediately arrested on a 2018 conviction for "
abuse of power
" which he considers political. To protest his detention, he went on a hunger strike which has lasted ever since. It is in this tense context that Georgians are called to the polls on Saturday for the second round of municipal elections in which the candidates of the Georgian Dream will face those of the MNU for the control of the town hall of the largest cities. The MNU is to organize its own demonstration later on Wednesday evening in the city of Zugdidi (west). After the first round of municipal elections on October 2, the Georgian Dream claimed victory by winning 47% of the vote. But in several important cities, including Tbilisi, a second round must be organized.