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Dissident Who Was Snatched Back By Supporters In Ukraine Is Arrested Again

Ukrainian police block the road as supporters of former Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili gather in Kiev outside the police station where he was taken after his arrest late Friday.

It took a few tries, but Ukrainian authorities have arrested stateless politician Mikhail Saakashvili in Kiev.

Saakashvili, who is an ex-president of the former Soviet republic of Georgia, cut his ties with Georgia after he lost an election in 2012. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko welcomed him as an ally in 2014, granted him Ukrainian citizenship and made him governor of Odessa.

But then Saakashvili and Poroshenko fell out, and the president revoked Saakashvili's Ukrainian citizenship while he was away from the country in July of this year. With the help of supporters, Saakashvili returned to Ukraine as a dissident.

Ukrainian security services were thwarted by those dedicated followers at least twice this week during attempts to arrest him amid suspicions he had conspired with Russia to undermine Poroshenko's government, as NPR's Colin Dwyer reported:

"On Tuesday, they had to haul him down from his apartment building's roof — only to see him pulled from their police van by his angry supporters. On Wednesday they tried again, and again they failed to bring him in, this time because they were repulsed by tire-tossing members of the protest encampment set up in Mariyinsky Park."

When Saakashvili was finally taken to a police station late Friday, The Associated Press notes, "hundreds of his supporters gathered in a narrow street outside ... shouting, 'Shame,' and calling for others to join them."

"The arrest boosted rising tensions in a country that has already been shaken by massive protest uprisings twice in this century," the AP adds.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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