Fight erupts as Saakashvili refuses official summons

The police managed to separate the activists and the remaining protestors dissolved soon after. Photo by, 27 Mar 2014 - 16:05, Tbilisi,Georgia

Several people have been detained by Georgian law enforcers after a clash outside the Chief Prosecutor’s Office where former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili was expected to be questioned today.

Saakashvili was summoned to appear at the Chief Prosecutor’s Office boday to be questioned on several high-profile cases. 

Despite the ex-leader announcing he would not show up at the Office today, both his supporters and opponents gathered outside the building and rallied. Supporters of the ruling Georgian Dream coalition began to throw eggs at Saakashvili supporters, local media reported. 

The conflict ended with a physical fight between the two groups. Anti-Saakasvili activists tried to confiscate and damage the banners of opposition group. The police managed to separate the activists and the remaining protestors dissolved soon after.

Meanwhile, the Prosecutor’s Office is preparing a special statement concerning Saakashvili’s refusal to cooperate with their investigations and are expected to comment later today.

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili proposed the idea that Saakashvili could be questioned from abroad if he did not want to be questioned in his homeland. 

"There are other ways [of questioning] him. It can be done, for example, via video conference in the court,” Garibashvili noted. 

He also retracted his earlier remark that Georgia’s former president might be named on an international wanted list if he refused to show up at Prosecutor’s Office.

"I was ahead of events,” the PM said, explaining there were other procedures that should be offered to a person who refuses to cooperate with investigations before he is announced as a wanted citizen.

Members of Saakashvili’s political party – United National Movement – confirmed he would not return to Georgia for questioning.  

"Saakashvili, as he stated himself, doesn’t plan to participate in this circus” said Zurab Japaridze, a UNM Member of Parliament.

Saakashvili was summoned to be questioned as a witness in relation to ten cases by the Georgian Prosecution. Among them were several cases connected with Georgian TV companies, embezzlement of public money and cases relating to the murder of Girgvliani and the unexplained death of ex-Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania.

Saakashvili considered the questioning to be a part of political pressure put on himself and his party by ruling Georgian Dream coalition, and alleged Russian officials may also be interested in his questioning, arrest or even physical demise.