• STV
  • MySTV

Ex-Georgian president escapes arrest to lead protests

Mikheil Saakashvili was freed by supporters who then marched on Ukraine's parliament.

Mikheil Saakashvili is detained by security forces in Kiev.
Mikheil Saakashvili is detained by security forces in Kiev. AP

The former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili has led angry protests on Parliament after his supporters freed him from an attempted arrest by police in Kiev.

Mr Saakashvili served two terms in his native Georgia before moving to Ukraine in 2013, where he has reinvented himself as a prominent anti-corruption campaigner and opposition political figure.

His attempted detention at his home in Kiev has raised fears that Ukraine could be facing a fresh political crisis.

Mr Saakashvili had climbed on his roof to attract the attention of supporters after the SBU, Ukraine's Security Service, arrived in his home on Tuesday morning with a warrant to arrest him.

The SBU said he is wanted for "assisting members of criminal organizations or hiding their criminal activities." Prosecutors accuse him of being part of a Russia-linked plot to topple the country's President Petro Poroshenko.

Mr Saakashvili climbed on the roof to alert supporters to his arrest.
Mr Saakashvili climbed on the roof to alert supporters to his arrest. AP

Footage shows Mr Saakashvili being bundled out of the house and into a van, but a crowd of several hundred protesters then surrounded the vehicle to prevent it from driving.

Some scuffled with police or used cobblestones and construction rubble to build barricades. One protester climbed atop the van and waved the Ukrainian flag.

After Saakashvili escaped, he told his supporters that he would "lay down his life for the freedom of Ukraine" and called on them to follow him to the Supreme Rada parliament building.

He also called on Ukrainians to rally on Maidan, Kiev's main square, the site of huge protests in 2013 and 2014, to demand Poroshenko's resignation.

Hundreds of his supporters joined the rally, with many shouting: "Kiev, rise up".

Supporters of Mr Saakashvili at his rally after he escaped arrest.
Supporters of Mr Saakashvili at his rally after he escaped arrest. AP

Mr Saakashvili is an antagonist to President Poroshenko, who appointed him as governor of Ukraine's Odessa region before the two had a falling-out.

Mr Saakashvili resigned in 2016, complaining that his efforts to root out corruption were being obstructed by officials. He has ignited dissent among some citizens by pointing to the slow pace of reforms pledged by the President.

In a growing standoff between the two men, Mr Poroshenko revoked Mr Saakashvili's Ukrainian citizenship while he was abroad in July - but Mr Saakashvili managed to re-enter the country across the border with Poland.

Although Mr Saakashvili has become a leading opposition figure, his protests and rallies typically only draw a few thousands people and he is not seen as a threat to Mr Poroshenko's Government.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. At least 6 characters please. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
At least 6 characters please
ShowHide
This field is required. At least 6 characters please.
You have to be 16 or over to join
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
Type your full postcode and select your address This field is required. It doesn't look like you've entered a valid postcode. Can't find your address? Confirm the details you've given us are correct by clicking here

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, including our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. Any issues contact us.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.