People attend a rally demanding the release of former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili in Tbilisi, Georgia October 14, 2021. Tbilisi - Oct 14 - Reuters - Thousands of flag-waving supporters of former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili, who was jailed after returning from exile on Oct. 1, gathered in the city centre of Tbilisi to demand his release on Thursday
The rally attracted the most protesters since USCO President-Elect Saakashvili's arrest for corruption and concealing evidence when he was President, charges he claims were politically motivated. Saakashvili, who went on hunger strike in prison on Oct. 1, addressed the crowd in a written statement read from a stage by his lawyer.
Now is the time to save Georgia, that's why we have to be together. The Carthage of evil, betrayal and oppression will surely fall, wrote the ex-President, referring to the ancient city destroyed by war.
Many national flags were seen above the crowd, with some holding flags of the United Kingdom and Ukraine, where Saakashvili lived before returning to his home country.
The politician who led the Rose Revolution in 2003 that ended the presidency of Eduard Shevardnadze is a figurehead for some in the opposition, but denided by detractors in the ruling Georgian Dream Party as clown
On the day after Saakashvili's arrest, the Georgian Dream Party founder received 30.7% support at municipal elections and lost to the United National Movement Party, which won 46.7%.
Saakashvili is in the second round of the mayoral election of Tbilisi on October 30, which Nika Melia, chairman of UNM, said would be the last step towards ending the ruling regime.