Abkhazia president calls protests 'coup attempt', Russia concerned

Opposition protesters broke windows and doors to take control of the presidential building, while others held talks with President Alexander Ankvab after several thousand gathered in the capital of the Black Sea region.

Abkhazia president calls protests 'coup attempt', Russia concerned

World Bulletin / News Desk

3,000 people in Georgia's breakaway region of Abkhazia have demanded the resignation of president Aleksandr Ankvab due to unemployment and high prices.

The protesters who have gathered in the region's capital Sukhumi, surrounding the presidential palace. Abkhazia president Ankvab has called the protest an armed coup attempt.

Speaking to Ria Novosti, president Ankvab dismissed rumors that he had fled Abkhazia. 'I haven't left. I am still in Abkhazia,' he said.

While protesters demand an early election, Abkhazia foreign ministry officials have reported some damage to the presidential palace.

The protesters continue to surround the palace, chanting slogans for the president to quit

Abkhazia broke from Georgian rule in a 1992-1993 war after the Soviet collapse. Moscow recognised it as an independent state after Russia fought a five-day war with Georgia in 2008, and at the same time strengthened control over the region.
 
Only a handful of other nations recognise Abkhazia as an independent state.
 
Opponents of Ankvab, a former prime minister and vice president who has survived several reported assassination attempts, accuse him of corruption and authoritarian rule over the lush region that borders the Russian resort city of Sochi.
 
Some critics including Khadzhimba have also accused Ankvab's government of mishandling the relationship with Russia and relying too much on Moscow, while others want Abkhazia to become part of Russia.
 
Abkhazia "cannot keep going with the flow, relying exclusively on subsidies from the Russian Federation. This is a road to nowhere," Interfax quoted parliamentary deputy Akhra Bzhania as saying.

Russia expresses concern  

Russia expressed concern on Wednesday over unrest in Abkhazia, where demonstrators have seized control of the presidential administration headquarters in what the leader of the Moscow-backed breakaway province of Georgia called an attempted coup.

"The Russian side is following events closely and with concern ... and considers it important that socio-political processes develop exclusively along legal lines," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Vladislav Surkov, an aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin who is in charge of ties with Abkhazia and South Ossetia, may travel to Abkhazia, Russian news agency Interfax reported.

Opposition supporters continued to control the administration building in the capital, Sukhumi, and also the state television station, Interfax reported, though Ankvab said on Tuesday that attempts to seize the station had been quashed.

Raul Khadzhimba, an opposition leader who lost a presidential election to Ankvab in 2011, said the president had agreed to dismiss his cabinet but Russian media reported that opponents are pressing Ankvab himself to step down.

Ankvab "took upon himself everybody's responsibilities ... That led to our country becoming essentially an authoritarian regime," Khadzhimba said on Tuesday.

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Last Mod: 28 Mayıs 2014, 16:35
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