Protests in breakaway Georgian region, Abkhazia

Map of Georgia with region of Abkhazia highlighted in yellow. [Rainer Lesniewski/Shutterstock]

Around 200 demonstrators contesting a local election broke into the authorities’ headquarters in the breakaway Georgian region of Abkhazia Thursday evening (9 January) and demanded the resignation of its president. Protests continue today (10 January) with demonstrators setting up camp in front of administration building, local media reports.

In the evening crowds gathered outside the administration’s building in the city of Sukhumi, the pro-Russian region’s capital, before breaking down the door and smashing windows to get inside.

The isolated region of Abkhazia broke away from Georgia after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Most countries consider it a part of Georgia, but Russia recognised its independence and that of the region of South Ossetia after winning a short war against Georgia in 2008. Russia has troops based in Abkhazia.

Thursday evening the legislative body of the region voted on a non-binding document calling for the resignation of incumbent president Raul Khajimba.

Protestors are calling for the annulment of the 8 September presidential elections.

Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili has called the elections in Abkhazia illegitimate and a “sham process” that violates the country’s sovereignty.

The Russian embassy in Abkhazia said it was following the situation.

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