KIEV, October 28. /TASS/. As of Saturday evening, only a hundred of protestors remain in the tent camp set up in Kiev’s downtown governmental district, a TASS correspondent reported from the scene.
A number of activists representing various political forces in Ukraine gathered outside the country’s parliament on October 17. The rally was organized by a number of opposition political forces, such as the Batkivshchina (Fatherland) and the 5.10 political party, as well as Saakashvili’s Movement of New Forces, and a number of ultra-right organizations. Apart from that, a number of Rada lawmakers with the ruling Pyotr Poroshenko Bloc have joined the protest. The protesters demand to strip Rada deputies of their parliamentary immunity, amend the election laws, and set up an anticorruption tribunal.
The weather in the Ukrainian capital remains cold and wet, so the majority of protesters choose to stay inside their tents, heated by potbelly stoves.
Approximately 40 police officers were deployed near the tent camp, but many of them do not leave their patrol vehicles. Although the situation appears to be largely peaceful at the moment, several clashes with the police have been reported earlier this month.
The tent camp, blocking a busy traffic lane in downtown Kiev, continues to create serious traffic jams even on weekend. No vehicles, except for official cars and taxis taking guests to local hotels, are allowed through police cordons.
Former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili, now a leader of the Ruh Novykh Sil (Movement of New Forces) opposition party in Ukraine, one of the organizers of the protest, could not be spotted in the tent camp. His supporters explained that the former governor of Ukraine’s Odessa Region is busy holding meetings and negotiations, but were unable to provide any further details, including on who he is meeting and where.
Photographs of the tent where Saakashvili is said to be staying were released by his supporters via social networking sites. According to the images, the opposition leader’s makeshift home has a plastic chair, a table and a bed, as well as a heater and electricity. At the same time, no personal items or any other signs indicating that a person actually lives there could be seen on those photographs.
Saakashvili has been reportedly staying it the tent camp since October 24, when Ukrainian authorities turned down his appeal for a refugee status and said he may be deported from the country.
After being dismissed as Odessa regional governor, Saakashvili left Ukraine and almost immediately was stripped of Ukrainian citizenship. As he waived his Georgian citizenship when receiving the Ukrainian one, he is currently a stateless person.
As there was no legal opportunity for him to return to Ukraine, Saakashvili turned to his supporters who helped him cross the border in early September. Shortly after that, he applied for a political asylum, but the request was rejected.
At the same time, the Ukrainian Justice Ministry has been assessing the possibility to extradite Saakashvili to Georgia, where several criminal charges were brought against him.