Nika Melia, Georgian opposition leader, is arrested at party HQ
Georgia’s main opposition leader, Nika Melia, has been arrested by police in a violent raid at his party’s headquarters. Melia’s supporters were dispersed with tear gas, and Mr Melia was brought out of the building in Tbilisi by riot police. The case against Melia is accusing him of inciting violent street protests in 2019, however the political crisis is growing. Prime Minister Girogi Gakharia resigned over the order to arrest Mr Melia over fears of “political escalation”. Since parliamentary elections in October, Georgia has seen protests as the ruling Georgian Dream party is accused of rigging the poll and voter intimidation.
Mr Melia denies the charges from 2019 and faces a nine-year sentence if convicted. 20 other people were detained with his arrest, but were later released. MP’s continue to boycott parliament and opposition parties in Georgia have called for mass demonstrations outside government headquarters on Tuesday over the arrest. The raid has been condemned by the Georgian US and UK embassies.