MOSCOW (Reuters) – Crowds of demonstrators contesting a local election broke into the authorities’ headquarters in the breakaway Georgian region of Abkhazia on Thursday and demanded the resignation of its president, Russian state media reported.
A few hundred people gathered outside the building in the city of Sukhumi, the pro-Russian region’s capital, before breaking down the door and smashing windows to get inside, pictures and footage circulated by Russian state media showed.
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 recognized 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’s unrest came as the authorities were set to review a call by opposition leader Alkhas Kvitsinia to void the results of his runoff against incumbent president Raul Khajimba in September.
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.
Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Angus MacSwan