04 June 2023,   11:10
Vano Merabishvili compares the events on Rustaveli to the Maidan protests and does not rule out a similar scenario in Tbilisi

Georgia’s former Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili claimed ensuring the release of the imprisoned Mikheil Saakashvili was one of the goals of the public protests held in Tbilisi over the Draft Law on “foreign influence”.

Speaking with Yevgeny Kiselyov [a Ukrainian-based Russian journalist], he said that “no matter where the police line is broken [during protests] - whether it is outside the Parliament or outside the clinic - any such breakthrough means the release of Saakashvili”.

Merabishvili also said the former President’s release would mean an “end” for the Georgian Dream Government.

He also claimed the current authorities would act “like Vladimir Putin” and make “no concessions” over the controversial legislative initiative that saw a backlash from the opposition, NGOs and Georgia’s foreign partners [the ruling party announced the withdrawal of the Bill the following day].

Claiming the United National Movement was in the “vanguard” of the latest protests due to its ability to “assemble crowds”, former Interior Minister said it was the only party able to ensure the Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration and “friendly ties” with Ukraine, amid the latter’s ongoing conflict with Russia.