Then Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili addresses the 67th session of the UN General Assembly's annual general debate at the UN headquarters in New York, the United States, Sept. 25, 2012. (Xinhua/Shen Hong)
KIEV, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- Protesters freed former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili here Tuesday hours after he was detained by Ukrainian authorities.
Multiple local news outlets reported that Saakashvili, also a former governor of Ukraine's Odessa region, was freed by hundreds of supporters who stopped the police van in which he was being taken away, staging a protracted standoff with the authorities.
He then led the crowd on a march toward the parliament, shouting slogans demanding the resignation of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
Earlier in the day, the Security Service of Ukraine said Saakashvili was arrested on suspicion of "aiding members of criminal groups and covering up their criminal activity."
According to local media reports, law enforcement officers had arrested Saakashvili from his apartment.
The 49-year-old served two terms as Georgian president from 2004 to 2013. He acquired Ukrainian citizenship in May 2015 and was appointed governor of Odessa.
On July 26 this year, Poroshenko revoked Saakashvili's Ukrainian citizenship following allegations that he had submitted false information while applying for a Ukrainian passport.
On Sept. 10, a defiant Saakashvili crossed into Ukraine from Poland without showing the necessary documents to the border guards. His supporters broke through the cordon of border guards and security forces and escorted him into Ukraine.
The National Police of Ukraine has opened criminal proceedings against Saakashvili and his supporters over the unlawful border crossing.
Saakashvili has said he would challenge the revocation of his Ukrainian citizenship in court.
In September, the Georgian Chief Prosecutor's Office asked Kiev to take measures for Saakashvili's extradition. In Georgia, Saakashvili faces charges of corruption, abuse of power and embezzlement.