(UPDATE: adds President Saakashvili’s reaction to the incident in sixth paragraph)
President Saakashvili was in the Samegrelo region in western Georgia on July 24 meeting with some locals in various municipalities of the region.
In the village of Tsaishi in the Zugdidi municipality a local elderly woman wanted to also attend the meeting, but the security guard and police, cordoning off the area, where the President’s meeting with locals was planned, did not allow her to join the participants of the meeting.
When the woman was telling journalists that she wanted to meet with President to tell him about her family’s hardship, two young men grabbed her and forcefully dragged her away from the scene. Later she told journalists that after she was taken from the scene, she was locked in a basement of a nearby house.
The Interior Ministry said on July 25, that the two local residents, who physically “insulted” the elderly woman, Roza Tskabelia, were arrested and jailed for 15 days.
The Interior Ministry also said that it had sacked a local police official, who witnessed the incident, but did not react to prevent it.
On July 25 President Saakashvili visited Roza Tskabelia in her house in Tsaishi and told her in televised remarks: “I have always been, I am and I will remain protector of those who are in hardship.” “Those who will stand between me and people in hardship… will definitely be held responsible,” Saakashvili added.
On July 22 a local activist of the opposition Georgian Dream in the village of Vachnadziani in eastern region of Kakheti was arrested after an incident following a visit in the village of Georgian Dream leader Bidzina Ivanishvili. After Ivanishvili departed from the village a verbal argument broke out between Ivanishvili’s supporters and a female employee of the local administration, who called Ivanishvili “bastard”; the Georgian Dream activist, Giorgi Natroshvili, punched her in the face; shortly afterwards Natroshvili was arrested and two days later sentenced to 30 days in jail.