A protester holds the US flag during a rally in support of Rustavi 2 TV channel in Tbilisi, Georgia, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. Hundreds of people marched in central Tbilisi to express their support to independent TV channel Rustavi 2 and blamed the government for an attempt to silence opposition media. (AP Photo/Shakh Aivazov)
Shakh Aivazov AP
By The Associated Press
February 19, 2017

Thousands of Georgians have rallied in the capital in support of the country’s opposition-minded television station that they suspect is about to be transferred to a more government-friendly owner.

Rustavi-2 is Georgia’s most popular TV station and the Sunday demonstration on Tbilisi’s main avenue attracted people from a wide political spectrum.

Some carried signs calling for the imprisonment of Bidzina Ivanishvili, the billionaire founder of the ruling Georgian Dream coalition.

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Rustavi-2 has changed hands in murky deals several times.

The current controversy stems from a case filed by a former owner, Kibar Khalvashi, who is seeking to regain control.

The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the case soon. Station supporters claim the court is under government pressure to transfer it from the current owners.

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