- Masked officers took Saakashvili into custody in his apartment building in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, earlier Tuesday, as protesters rallied outside in his support. At one point, Saakashvili even climbed on the building’s rooftop to address them.
The van in which authorities attempted to transport him was blocked by protesters, who held it up for hours. Saakashvili was eventually dragged out of the vehicle. Once free, he repeated his calls for protests against Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
“I urge you to start a peaceful protest to remove Poroshenko. You should not be afraid of anything,” Saakashvili told the crowd, according to Reuters.
- Saakashvili — who served as Georgia’s president for almost a decade — left his country in 2013 to accept a teaching engagement in the United States. By the end of his presidency, he was widely reviled in Georgia, where many blamed him for a mismanaged justice system and a 2008 war with Russia that left the Georgian military humiliated and weakened. In the months leading up to his electoral defeat, mass protests swept the country.
- Shortly afterward, protests in Ukraine toppled then-President Viktor Yanukovych, who fled to Russia. Saakashvili sensed an opportunity and became active in Ukrainian politics, where the conflict with Russian-backed separatists in the east bore striking similarities to the Georgian conflict. Saakashvili's anti-Russian credentials and his alliance with the new president, Poroshenko, saw the former Georgian leader launch a second political career as he was granted Ukrainian citizenship.
As governor of Ukraine’s Odessa province, Saakashvili soon emerged as one of the country’s most popular politicians. Yet within a year, his projects had stalled, and he resigned, claiming interference in his anti-corruption efforts.