MOSCOW (Reuters) - Dozens of demonstrators stormed the presidential headquarters in Georgia’s Russian-backed breakaway province of Abkhazia on Tuesday after a protest against alleged corruption and misrule, Russian news agency Interfax reported.
Several thousand opposition supporters had gathered in the capital of the Black Sea coastal region to vent anger at the government and demand reforms, Interfax said.
It said some opposition representatives later held talks with Abkhazia’s president, Alexander Ankvab, in his office but that others broke windows and doors and about 30 entered the building through a shattered window.
Abkhazia broke from Georgian rule in a 1992-1993 war after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Moscow recognized 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 recognize Abkhazia as an independent state.
Opponents of Ankvab, a former prime minister who was elected in 2011 and 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 also accuse 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.
Writing by Steve Gutterman, Editing by Timothy Heritage