Foreign diplomats and politicians have expressed concern over the special operation of Georgian police which stormed the United National Movement office this morning to arrest its chair Nika Melia.
Police used tear gas in the room where Melia was gathered with his supporters, however before starting the special operation they evacuated the UNM office, where party leaders and opposition parties' representatives had been protecting Melia for several days.
In response to these events US Congressman Adam Kinzinger called on the government to 'stand down from this dramatic action'.
This is a very concerning move by the Govt of Georgia. Given the tense situation, I call on the Govt to stand down from this dramatic action. We are all watching. https://t.co/YoglwixFdk— Adam Kinzinger (@RepKinzinger) February 23, 2021
I watched this raid live. As the Co-chair of the Country of Georgia caucus, I am very concerned. We just introduced again the Georgia Support Act. That is not something that is automatic. https://t.co/gWj2r8fbHF— Adam Kinzinger (@RepKinzinger) February 23, 2021
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis posted on his Twitter account that 'violence is not the way to resolve political disagreements'.
Worried to see what’s happening in Tbilisi this morning. Violence is not the way to resolve political disagreements. I hope our Georgian friends can avoid plunging into a deeper crisis. Restraint and commitment to democracy must prevail.— Gabrielius Landsbergis (@GLandsbergis) February 23, 2021
Lithuanian Ambassador to Georgia Andrius Kalindra called for 'restraint on all sides for the sake of the future of Georgia'.
Unfortunate start of the day, seeing the developments at the opposition party office in #Tbilisi. Call for restraint on all sides for the sake of the future of #Georgia. Violence & escalation can produce no positive outcomes.— Andrius Kalindra (@a_kalindra) February 23, 2021
Ambassador of Great Britain to Georgia Mark Clayton said that 'violence and chaos in Tbilisi are the last thing Georgia needs right now'.
Shocked by the scenes at UNM headquarters this morning. Violence and chaos in Tbilisi are the last thing Georgia needs right now. I urge all sides to act with restraint, now and in the coming days. @UKinGeorgia— Mark Clayton (@MarkClaytonFCDO) February 23, 2021
Estonian Foreign Ministry stated:
Estonia strongly condemns the violent storming of the opposition party office & escalation of the political situation in #Tbilisi GE????????I call on the Govt and the opposition to exercise restraint & return to political dialogue. It´s critical to make right decisions for the future!— Estonian MFA ???????? (@MFAestonia) February 23, 2021
Member of the European Parliament Rasa Jukneviciene urged political leaders in Georgia to start negotiations.
Braking.— Rasa Juknevičienė (@RJukneviciene) February 23, 2021
I urge political leaders in Georgia to start negotiations and think about the future of there country. https://t.co/m2BqD85Z6a
MEP Urmas Paet said:
???????? @Urmaspaet: “I am deeply concerned about the Georgian government’s decision to detain the leader of the main opposition party. Instead of using force to resolve disagreements, there needs to be proper dialogue to end the political polarization." #Georgia pic.twitter.com/sfB15GUTgG— Renew Europe (@RenewEurope) February 23, 2021
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, former Secretary General of NATO and former PM of Denmark posted:
What’s happened in #Georgia ???????? today is very worrying.— Anders Fogh Rasmussen (@AndersFoghR) February 23, 2021
The first to lose out are the Georgian people.
I urge restraint and for Georgia not to backtrack. We stand with those defending the rule of law and democracy in Georgia.
Michael Carpenter, Managing Director of the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagemen expressed hope that 'cooler heads will prevail and the situation can still be de-escalated'.
Very unfortunate developments in the Republic of Georgia with the storming of the opposition party’s HQ. Hoping cooler heads will prevail and the situation can still be de-escalated.— Michael Carpenter (@mikercarpenter) February 23, 2021
Former US Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly posted:
Very sad day in Georgia. https://t.co/8JUJM7h6EB— Ian Kelly (@ikelly731) February 23, 2021
Former Minister of Defence and former Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevicius posted:
Concerned about tentions in #Georgia. Our friends have achieved a lot: frontruners implementing #AA/DCFTA, one of #NATO's most active partners. Would be irresponsible to waste it all. All leaders must show restraint and be guided primarily by the interests of the State.— Linas Linkevicius (@LinkeviciusL) February 23, 2021