Adzharian opposition demands the resignation of Abashidze

A meeting of the Adzharian opposition is continuing in Batumi. Its participants are demanding the resignation of Adzharian leader Aslan Abashidze. The opponents of the Adzharian leader from all the districts of the autonomous republic participated in the protest actions all throughout the past night.

On Wednesday a column of buses with persons wishing to join the protest actions is expected to arrive in Batumi from Tbilisi.

According to the Georgian mass media, servicemen from the quick reaction detachment subordinate directly to Aslan Abashidze blocked the road to prevent persons from joining the protest action in Batumi.

In the Kedsky district of Adzharia illegal armed formations turned fire on the bus with opposition members. As leader of the political movement Our Adzharia Tamaz Diasamidze told journalists, as a result, two persons were wounded. However, he did not give any other details of the incident.

Automatic fire was heard in the center of Batumi at night. Armed people in plain clothes were seen in the windows of the hotel located within a five minutes' walk to the place of the meeting of Abashidze's opponents. The armed people were seen firing while running, RIA Novosti reports from the Adzharian capital.

Deputy of the Georgian parliament Georgy Bokeria told journalists in Tbilisi that the participants in the protest action of the Adzharian opposition were cordoned off. "According to our information, the action participants have been sealed off. Automatic rifle shooting into the air is heard," the deputy said.

As deputy head of the Georgian State Security Ministry Georgy Ugulava told journalists, 25 servicemen from the quick reaction detachment have joined the ranks of the Adzharian opposition.

"The servicemen who were recently the support of Aslan Abashidze, have refused to obey his orders; they have given up their arms and have taken the side of their people," Ugulava said.

"We do not intend to use military force. We are doing our utmost to avoid a special operation in Batumi. Everything depends on the wisdom of Abashidze and on whether he will display aggression in relation to the meeting participants. If blood is spilled in Adzharia, we shall be forced to act," Ugulava said.

The heads of the power structures spent the entire past night at the Georgian National Security Council. Since Tuesday Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili has not left the State Chancellery, which is his working residence.

Georgian parliament deputy Georgy Bokeria said that Mikhail Saakashvili was ready to provide security guarantees for Aslan Abashidze and let him leave the territory of Georgia.

Leader of the Adzharian opposition from the political movement Our Adzharia Tamaz Diasamidze stated in his turn that the issue of Abashidze's resignation would be resolved in the few coming hours.

"We do not intend to give up and are ready to continue the action tomorrow as well. But tomorrow the number of our supporters will be greater. Either today or tomorrow, or never," Diasamidze said.

Meanwhile, on the night of May 4-5, four deputies of the Adzharian parliament gave up their mandates and joined the camp of the opposition. One of these deputies, Temur Dzhashi, told the protesters about that in front of the building of Batumi University.

Meanwhile, as RIA Novosti has learnt from the Georgian State Chancellery, Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania has gone this Wednesday to Poti where state security minister Zurab Adeishvili is discussing, among other things, the issue of Abashidze's possible departure from Georgia.

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