Georgia’s prime minister resigns to arrest the opposition chief

TBILISI, Georgia – Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia announced his resignation on Thursday after a court ruled to arrest a man who leads the former Soviet nation’s top opposition party.

Gakharia said in a statement that due to disagreement within his own team over the decision to arrest Nika Melia, the leader of the opposition party to the United National Movement, he would resign.

A Tbilisi court ruled on Wednesday to remand Melia, who is accused of organizing “mass violence” during the 2019 anti-government protests, after paying another increased bail of $ 12,000 . If convicted, Melia faces nine years in prison. He has dismissed the charges as politically motivated.

Melia and his supporters from other opposition parties have vowed to oppose the arrest, and he condemned the sentence as “unlawful”. According to Interfax News Agency, Melia stayed at the United National Movement’s headquarters in Tbilisi on Thursday and police officers were unable to enter the office to arrest him.

Gakharia said he believed the opposition leader’s imprisonment could spark tension and expressed hope that his resignation would help reduce polarization in the country.

The Associated Press