PM Garibashvili on UNM rally: Georgia needs peace

Georgian PM Irakli Garibashvili says that former president Mikheil Saakashvili wished to stage a coup, but failed. Photo: government of Georgia press office., 14 Oct 2021 - 15:45, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili commented on the rally of the United National Movement (UNM) later today, saying that ‘what Georgia needs now is peace and concentration on the issues which are crucial to the country’s further development.’ 

The UNM is holding a rally in central Tbilisi at 6 p.m. today to demand the release of former president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili from prison. 

Garibashvili reiterated that Saakashvili returned to Georgia, after eight years in political exile, ‘with a single goal - to spark tension, destabilization, and even to commit murder.’ 

 In his previous comments, Garibashvili said that Saakashvili planned to hold a rally in Tbilisi shortly after his arrival from Ukraine in early October, where several individuals might have been murdered or injured in order to increase tension. 

I do not want to speak of an ordinary prisoner [Saakashvili] any longer. Now it is time to focus on important issues,” Garibashvili said. 

He also commented on the recent statement of Archbishop Nikoloz ‘on the need for reconciliation of political forces,’ and stated that ‘everyone wishes that these people (Saakashvili, UNM) think about their mistakes and offences.’ 

Garibashvili has dismissed media reports on his alleged resignation after the municipal election run-offs on October 30 and called it ‘weak provocation and disinformation’.

A road has already been blocked near Tbilisi City Assembly, in the central part of the capital city, for the UNM rally. 

Saakashvili was arrested in Tbilisi on October 1, a day before Georgia’s municipal elections. 

He claims he returned ‘to save the country from the pro-Russian Georgian Dream government.’ 

The ex-president, who is a citizen of Ukraine and chairs the Executive Committee of the Ukrainian National Reforms Council, wishes to be released from prison before election run-offs.

Saakashvili was convicted in Georgia in absentia in 2018 and was sentenced to six years in prison for abuse of authority. 

He has also been charged with four other offences related to the illegal seizure of property, embezzlement, illegal rally dispersal, and illegal border-crossing.