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Former president of Georgia moves to tent camp outside Ukraine's parliament

October 24, 2017, 21:24 UTC+3 KIEV

Earlier on the same day, Saakashvili had asked the people of Kiev to protect him from the country's president

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Mikheil Saakashvili

Mikheil Saakashvili

© Pyotr Sivkov/TASS

KIEV, October 24. /TASS/. Mikheil Saakashvili, the former Georgian President turned fiery Ukrainian oppositionist who leads the Rukh Novikh Sil [New Forces Pathway] movement, on Tuesday moved to the protesters’ tent camp opposite the Verkhovna Rada national parliament.

He appeared there after reports said earlier on Tuesday the Ukrainian authorities had turned down a request to grant him a refugee status - a situation that poses a risk of his expulsion from the country.

Saakashvili, who is also a former Ukrainian citizen and a former governor of the country’s vital Odessa region, told an improvised rally he was planning to stay in one of the tents, for the purposes of which he had taken some warm clothes along with him.

In addition, he said he was awaiting the arrival of Civil Position party leader Anatoly Gritsenko and the mayor of the western city of Lvov, Andrei Sadovy, to discuss a plan for further actions.

Earlier on the same day, Saakashvili had asked the people of Kiev to render help to him.

"Poroshenko wants to extradite me but I’d like to ask the residents of Kiev and other decent people to protect me. I’ll be protecting you but now please protect me, too," he told NewsOne radio. "I’m asking protection on the part of the people of Ukraine."

Tuesday afternoon, Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office said the authorities had rejected Saakashvili’s request to grant the refugee status to him - something he had asked the State Migration Service for.

This means that Saakashvili is a stateless person at present and he does not have any special circumstances that could prevent his deportation or extradition, the press secretary of the Prosecutor General’s Office, Larisa Sargan said.

Mass protests in front of the building of the Verkhovna Rada began on October 17, with Mikheil Saakashvili being one of the main organizers of the action.

Other political forces including Batkivshchina party of the former Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko, 5.10 movement and some ultra-rightwing organizations like Svoboda, Natsionalny Korpus [National Corps] and Right Sector joined the protests.

Some deputies of the Pyotr Porohenko Bloc threw their shoulder into the action, too.

The protesters demanding the revocation of parliamentary immunity from the Rada deputies, amendments to the election laws, and the setting up of an anticorruption tribunal. Consideration by parliament of a bill on impeachment of the President was added to the list of demands late.

The protest had mass character on the first day and a decision was taken afterwards to install a tent camp in front of the Rada. It accommodate about a thousand persons initially but the numeric strengths of the protesting crowd shrank considerably over the week and staying there now are about 200 people.

The situation is quiet and a field kitchen is working. By nighttime, a stage and a public address system appeared by the Rada building. Actual Ukrainian music can be heard.

About fifty policemen are guarding law and order.

After resignation from the post of Odessa region governor, Saakashvili left Ukraine and lost Ukrainian citizenship, granted to him by Pyotr Poroshenko, almost at once. Deprived of an opportunity to return to Ukraine on legal grounds, Saakashvili crosses over into Ukraine from Poland illegally on the background of active assistance from his supporters and lackadaisically watching border guards.

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