Voters in Georgia head to polls for municipal elections, that will have a crucial national impact.
The polls came a day after former president and opposition leader Mikheil Saakashvili returned from exile. Police forces immediately arrested him.
The detention of the country’s foremost opposition figure further raised the stakes in Saturday’s polls.
“I want to ask you all to go to the elections,” Saakashvili tweeted in English from prison on Saturday, posting a photo of a letter to his supporters.
“My freedom and, more importantly, the freedom of Georgia depends entirely on your actions and fighting ability.”
Prior to his arrest, he had posted on Facebook a video message calling on supporters to take to the streets against the government.
Saakashvili announced his return from Ukraine to the country he left in 2013 via Facebook, saying “I risked my life and freedom to return!”.
Thus, the government had warned him that they will arrest him immediately for “abuse of power”.
However, critics have accused it of using criminal prosecutions to punish political opponents and journalists.
But, Interpol turned down requests from Tbilisi to issue a red notice against Saakashvili.
In 2018, he received a six-years prison sentence for contempt of court. Saakashvili argues the case against him is political.