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Photographs by AP/EVGENIY MALOLETKA

Mikheil Saakashvili (center), the former president of Georgia, walks with protesters in Kiev, Ukraine, on Tuesday after escaping from police who tried to arrest him.

Ukrainian protesters block leader's arrest

MOSCOW -- Hundreds of protesters chanting "Kiev, rise up!" blocked Ukrainian police as they tried to arrest former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili on Tuesday.

Saakashvili later escaped with help from supporters and led them on a march toward parliament, where they called for President Petro Poroshenko to resign.

The detention of Saakashvili, now an anti-corruption crusader in his adopted home and a popular opposition politician, has raised fears that Ukraine could be facing its most acute political crisis since the 2014 revolution. Ukrainian prosecutors accuse him of colluding with Ukrainian businessmen who have ties to Russian intelligence as part of an effort to topple the president.

Saakashvili poses a threat to Poroshenko, who appointed him governor of Ukraine's Odessa region before the two had a falling-out. Saakashvili resigned in 2016, complaining that his efforts to root out corruption were being obstructed by officials.

When Ukraine's Security Service went to detain Saakashvili at his home in Kiev on Tuesday, he climbed onto the roof and reportedly threatened to jump off. Security officers went after him, detained him and led him to a waiting van.

Saakashvili escaped after several hundred supporters surrounded the van, refusing to let it drive off.

African Union to take back migrants

DAKAR, Senegal -- The African Union and member states will repatriate more than 15,000 migrants stranded in Libya by the end of the year amid anger over recent footage that showed migrants being auctioned off as slaves, the group's deputy chairman said Tuesday.

The voluntary evacuations from Libya of more than 15,000 migrants will take place in cooperation with the International Organization for Migration, Kwesi Quartey said on Twitter.

Between 400,000 and 700,000 African migrants are in dozens of camps across Libya, often in inhumane conditions, African Union Commission Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat told a summit of European and African leaders last week. The International Organization for Migration says more than 423,000 migrants have been identified in the North African country.

Libya's modern-day slavery came to international attention after the CNN footage showed migrants being auctioned off for as little as $400. Thousands of migrants make their way to Libya in hopes of eventually reaching Europe via the Mediterranean.

Austrian court rules to back gay marriage

BERLIN -- Austria's Constitutional Court ruled that same-sex couples will be allowed to marry by the beginning of 2019, bringing the country in line with more than a dozen other western European nations.

In a ruling announced Tuesday, the court said the words "two people of different sex" will be removed from the law on marriage at the end of 2018 on the grounds that the distinction is discriminatory. Same-sex couples will be able to marry after that, unless the government decides to change the laws earlier.

Same-sex couples in Austria, a predominantly Roman Catholic nation of about 8.7 million people, have been allowed to enter civil partnerships since 2010. Until now, however, they haven't been able to marry.

The Constitutional Court took up the issue after a complaint from two women who were already in a partnership but were refused permission to enter a formal marriage by authorities in Vienna.

Syria says it shot down Israeli missiles

BEIRUT -- Syrian air defense units shot down three Israeli missiles that were targeting a military post near the capital, Damascus, a few days after the Jewish state hit a military position nearby, the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency reported Tuesday.

The news agency did not say whether some of the missiles hit the target and did not give any word on casualties. It said the attack occurred around midnight Monday. There was no immediate Israeli comment.

A Section on 12/06/2017

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