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Thousands protest for Georgian ex-president’s release

TBILISI, Georgia (AP) — Tens of thousands of supporters of Georgia’s jailed former president have jammed a square in the center of the country’s capital to demand his release. The rally of some 30,000 people on Thursday in Tbilisi’s Freedom Square underlined tensions ahead of mayoral runoff elections in Georgia’s six largest cities. The opposition United National Movement, founded by former president Mikheil Saakashvili, believes it has strong chances to win those races and bolster its position against the ruling Georgian Dream Party. Saakashvili, who left Georgia in 2014 after his second term ended, was arrested Oct. 1 after returning to the country from Ukraine. He was convicted in absentia of abuse of power during his 2004-2013 presidency.           

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