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Georgian police detain opposition leader

Georgian police stormed the party offices of opposition leader Nika Melia and detained him early on Tuesday, days after the prime minister resigned after a disagreement over whether to take the prominent politician into custody.

Melia, chairman of the United National Movement opposition party, had been accused of inciting violence at street protests in June 2019, a charge he has dismissed as politically motivated.

A court in the capital Tbilisi ordered last week that he be taken into custody for allegedly failing to post bail. The Interior Ministry at the time announced it was postponing carrying out the order to detain Melia following the resignation of Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia.

Gakharia, who stepped down on February 18, said his decision had been prompted by a disagreement with his own team over the order to detain Melia.

Gakharia had said that Melia’s detention was unacceptable if it threatened to fuel political divisions in the South Caucasus country of 3.7 million people.

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