Opposition Holds Protest, Schedules ‘Large-scale’ Rally on February 26

Opposition leaders and scores of anti-governmental protesters gathered outside the Georgian Government Administration building in downtown Tbilisi on February 23, in the aftermath of United National Movement leader Nika Melia’s detention.

Leaders of the UNM, European Georgia, Lelo and Labor parties, among others, addressed the protesters and unveiled their decision to hold a new “large-scale” march, set to commence outside the Tbilisi Philarmonic Hall on Friday, February 26.

UNM leader Khatia Dekanoidze asserted in her address that the opposition has launched “a liberation movement,” transcending the “party lines.” She said that by detaining Melia, the ruling Georgian Dream party “has decided” to “capture the state for good.”

The protesters marched from the Government Chancellery soon afterward, and are currently gathered outside the Parliament building on Rustaveli Avenue, the Georgian capital’s main thoroughfare. Activists set up tents nearby, while European Georgia’s Gigi Ugulava announced that opposition leaders will “take shifts” to stand guard against a possible police dispersal.

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