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Ex-Georgian leader’s supporters march "for future" in central Kiev

February 04, 15:31 updated at: February 04, 18:46 UTC+3 KIEV

They call for impeachment of President Pyotr Poroshenko, for new parliament

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Ex-Georgian leader and former Governor of Ukraine’s Odessa Mikheil Saakashvili

Ex-Georgian leader and former Governor of Ukraine’s Odessa Mikheil Saakashvili

© AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka

KIEV, February 4. /TASS/. About 1,000 supporters of ex-Georgian leader and former Governor of Ukraine’s Odessa Mikheil Saakashvili, who now leads the Ukrainian oppositions’ Movement of New Forces, are marching across central Kiev demanding change of power in the country.

"We are resuming our protests," the rally’s participant said. "We see clearly that they [authorities] cannot be trusted, and we are sure the regime will not make it to spring." The protesters chant calls for resignations and for legal responsibility. They call for impeachment of President Pyotr Poroshenko, for new parliament, where "300 independent Spartans-deputies," whose term would be one year - to adopt laws to change the power system in the country. The third demand is a new government, which will implement the program dubbed "70 Days of New Power."

Rally participants demanded Poroshenko come to Kiev’s central Independence Square, or Maidan Nezalezhnosti, on February 18 to publicly declare his resignation.

"We call on citizen Poroshenko to come to the Maidan on February 18 to announce his decision on resignation. At noon, we will come to Kiev’s Maidan, to maidans (sqares - TASS) in each and every Ukrainian city. There will be millions of us. Get out of our way!," Yuri Derevyanko, a member of Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada, or national parliament, read out the rally’s resolution.

During his presidency Poroshenko has become "a guarantor of impunity for oligarchs and corruption," the resolution reads. "If the Poroshenko regime stays in place, we are running the risk of losing our statehood, collapsing into chaos. Poroshenko is an obstacle on the path of changes."

Saakashvili called the president "a frightened huckster with iron diapers," obviously hinting at tightened security at today’s rally. "Poroshenko and Lutsenko (Ukraine’s prosecutor general - TASS), their entire entourage have lost a moral right to be at the helm," he said, adding that if Poroshenko interfered into the upcoming presidential and parliamentary campaigns, "there will be no escape from people’s wrath for him."

Other people who spoke at the rally demanded that the authorities revoke the so-called Donbass reintegration law, bring down utilities tariffs, etc.

Anti-government protests

On December 19, 2017, Saakashvili announced a New Year break in marches for impeachment, which he had launched on December 3, 2017.

On January 10, Saakashvili announced he was beginning trips across Ukraine to find new candidates for government positions "who will rule the country by other means, who won’t steal money and destroy Ukraine, but who will build it." He stressed that new people are required for "a peaceful change of power in Ukraine."

Saakashvili, who earlier served as Georgia’s president, was granted Ukrainian citizenship in May 2015 and appointed to the position of the Odessa Region’s governor. On July 26, 2017, Poroshenko stripped him of his Ukrainian citizenship, while Saakashvili had stepped down as governor several days before that.

In September 2017, Saakashvili, backed by a group of supporters, managed to enter Ukraine but was charged with illegal border crossing. Right after that, he applied to the Ukrainian State Migration Service for an asylum. However, the Migration Service rejected his appeal, while Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuri Lutsenko announced there were no reasons why Kiev cannot extradite Saakashvili to Georgia, where he was facing several criminal charges. Saakashvili filed an appeal against the Migration Service’s decision. The Ukrainian Supreme Court’s Cassation Administrative Court addressed that appeal in late January.

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