arrest

Two opposite groups rally in Kutaisi over recent arrest

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Photo: gurianews.com

Two groups, one supporting the arrested National Movement Secretary General Vano Merabishvili and Kakheti Governor Zurab Chiaberashvili, and the other against the detainees, have been rallying in Kutaisi on 22 May.
According to Interpressnews agency, the people freed under the status of political prisoners have gathered at the City Court, holding brooms and photos from May 26, 2011 rally in their hands. They have been demanding "impartial and objective" decision from the court over the detention of the UNM officials.
"We have gathered here to support restoration of justice. You know that a civil union was held on 19 May and the people who became victim of the regime were invited, and these people demanded restoration of justice," Chairman of the Former Political Prisoners for Human Rights NGO, Nana Kakabadze told journalists "we want to call on the Court to be impartial and to give the society the feeling that justice has been restored. Court decisions should be just, not political," she added.
Meanwhile, a group of people supporting Merabishvili and Chiaberashvili, including the National Movement supporters and party leaders have been rallying in front of the preliminary detention isolator in Kutaisi. "We had been receiving calls from the citizens from various regions of Georgia yesterday expressing desire to arrive to Kutaisi to support Merabishvili and Chiaberashvili," MP from National Movement party Mikheil Machavariani said "we told them there was no necessity to do so, however, as you can see people have arrived from Guria, Imereti and Shida Kartli regions to support the detainees with a peaceful rally," he added.
Vano Merabishvili and Zurab Chiaberashvili were arrested on 21 May. Later on Tuesday Merabishvili was officially charged with abuse of power, bribery of voters, misspending of public funds and property appropriation. Chiaberashvili was charged with abuse of power, bribery of voters and misspending of funds.
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili posted a statement in relation with the arrest on his official Facebook page on 22 May. He called on the ruling authorities to "think well about the possible consequences of their steps." He said the arrest of Merabishvili and Chiaberashvili could bring Georiga into a "completely new reality."
"Last October the transition of power happened in a peaceful way through elections. We got a historic chance to become a proper, successful democracy. However, today there is a threat of becoming an authoritative regime in the region. This could drag the country several years backwards both in terms of internal policy and external relations," the President said.

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