SUKHUM, July 6 /TASS/. About 1,000 people are rallying in the Abkhazian capital Sukhum to voice support for the current Abkhazian leadership. Abkhazian President Raul Khadzhimba, Vice-President Vitaly Gabaniya, parliament deputies and government members are present at the rally.
Up to 500 people are standing in the center of the square while the rest are hiding from the sultry sun under the trees.
The speakers, including representatives of various public organizations and parties, described as unlawful an opposition protest, which grew into mass riots outside the republic’s Interior Ministry late on Tuesday. They called for bringing the riot’s organizers to justice.
The opposition Amtsakhara party adopted a resolution at its congress on Tuesday demanding the resignation of the republic’s interior minister over the worsening criminal situation in Abkhazia and actions aimed at violation of citizens’ constitutional rights to participate in a referendum. The opposition adopted an appeal to the republic’s president to put off early presidential elections from July 10 to autumn.
Up to 1,000 people rallied outside the Abkhazian Interior Ministry building for almost six hours on Tuesday. Some of them clashed with the police.
Abkhazian President Raul Khadzhimba relieved Interior Minister Leonid Dzapshbu of his duties but refused to postpone the referendum on early presidential elections to a later date.
"I am not going to put off the referendum because a decree has been signed. The referendum will take place on July 10. If I put it off until autumn as they assume I myself am going to break the law, which, as the opposition itself is saying, I am obliged to observe," Khadzhimba said on Abkhazian television.
He said that the current events in Abkhazia were an attempt to destabilize the situation in the country and that the interior minister was just a pretext. Khadzhimba said he would meet the opposition’s demand to allow people with expired passports to vote in the referendum.