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Saakashvili calls for protest camp in Ukraine's capital

05 December 2017

Hundreds of supporters of former Georgian leader Mikheil Saakashvili on Tuesday freed the detained politician from a police van amid a showdown with officers in central Kiev, AFP correspondents reported.

Mikheil Saakashvili climbed onto the roof of his home in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, drawing a crowd of supporters below, and reportedly threatened to jump off, Ukrainian media reported.

Later, some 200 demonstrators managed to free the leader of the New Forces Movement Saakashvili by pulling him out of a auto of the intelligence agency SBU.

On Tuesday morning, Ukraine's Security Service (SBU) agents from its Alpha unit barged into the opposition figure's apartment in Kiev. Footage from the scene showed Saakashvili being taken away while several hundred protesters were blocking the road.

National Guard riot police were dispatched to help the SBU release the van but they soon found themselves surrounded by a crowd of protesters.

As protesters blocked the police van carrying Mr Saakashvili, who left Georgia in 2013 and served as governor of Ukraine's Odessa region in 2015-16, the authorities accused the firebrand politician of working to overthrow the government.

Mr Saakashvili served as Georgia's president for almost a decade before he was termed out of the office and left the country in 2013.

On July 26 this year, Poroshenko revoked Saakashvili's Ukrainian citizenship following allegations that he had submitted false information while applying for a Ukrainian passport.

Mr Saakashvili forced his way across Ukraine's border with Poland last month.

Saakashvili's stand-off with Poroshenko ignited long-simmering popular discontent with the slow pace of Poroshenko's much-promised reforms.

Saakashvili issued the call for an encampment at Kiev's Independence Square during a rally that news reports said attracted 2,500 people.

Saakashvili's associate Siverion Dangadze was detained in an attempt to leave Ukraine, and documents that law-enforcement officials seized from him prove that he received funding from Serhiy Kurchenko, a fugitive associate of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, Lutsenko said.

Saakashvili calls for protest camp in Ukraine's capital