TBILISI, DFWatch – An opposition billionaire in the former Soviet republic of Georgia Tuesday had meetings with representatives for the movement behind a protest wave which ended in a fatal clash with police in May 2011.

Bidzina Ivanishvili met with People’s Assembly, a movement which last spring mobilized all across the country to try to oust Mikheil Saakashvili out of frustration with his authoritarian rule.

The wave of demonstrations ended with a determined last stand the night before Georgia’s independence day May 26, which became a bloody street battle leading to five deaths as police encircled the demonstrators and beat many of them. Two deaths were attributed to one of the cars in Mrs Burjanadze’s detail as she was leaving.

Ivanishvili spoke of the heroism of the demonstrators as they stood tall, and that it is unfortunate that many of them were punished for their efforts. This is the government’s fault, said Ivanishvili.

Several tens of the People’s Assembly’s activists were given long sentences ranging up to ten years during a nation-wide crackdown.