MOSCOW (AP) — Georgia's former president, who has become Ukraine's top opposition politician, said Wednesday that he wouldn't give himself up to authorities after the prosecutors issued an ultimatum.
Authorities tried to arrest Mikheil Saakashvili at his home in the capital, Kiev, on Tuesday but he escaped with help from supporters. Saakashvili and his backers camped out outside parliament, demanding the resignation of the Ukrainian president. Prosecutors gave him 24 hours to turn himself in.
Saakashvili addressed the crowd outside parliament, called the Supreme Rada, on Wednesday, saying that prosecutors are welcome to see him there but he won't turn himself in.
Police officers and prosecutors went to the tent camp early in the morning to look for Saakashvili but were met with resistance from protesters, the Kiev police said in a statement Wednesday. Two protesters and 11 police officers were injured in a scuffle, the police said.
There were about 100 protesters outside the Supreme Rada late Wednesday morning.
The detention of Saakashvili, now an anti-corruption crusader in his adopted home and arguably the country's most popular opposition politician, has raised fears that Ukraine could be facing its most acute political crisis since the 2014 revolution.
Saakashvili has won broad popularity in Ukraine with his fiery campaign against official corruption, riding a wave of public frustration over President Petro Poroshenko's failure to uproot endemic graft. He has staged a series of rallies calling for the president's resignation, but they haven't produced any visible impact.
Prosecutor General Yuri Lutsenko claimed on television that his office has evidence that Saakashvili's representative received $500,000 from Ukrainian businessmen who have ties to Russia to finance the protests.