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Abkhaz Opposition Leader Urges Supporters To Remain Calm

12 November 2004 -- Abkhazia's opposition presidential contender Sergei Bagapsh today urged his supporters to remain calm after they seized the building that hosts the government and presidential administration.

Bagapsh told the crowd that he will enter into talks with Abkhazia's various political parties before deciding on further steps.

All main administrative buildings in the Abkhaz capital Sukhum are reportedly in the hands of the opposition. The whereabouts of President Vladislav Ardzinba and Prime Minister Nodar Khashba remain unknown.

Election officials last month declared Bagapsh the winner of the disputed 3 October presidential polls. But the decision was overruled by the outgoing administration, which claims the vote was fraudulent.

Bagapsh's supporters today took to the streets of Sukhum to protest against Ardzinba's fresh call for a revote. They later stormed the parliament building and the government headquarters, forcing the presidential guard to withdraw.

Bagapsh said several people were wounded during the melee.


[For the latest news on the tensions in Abkhazia, see RFE/RL's webpage on Abkhazia and Georgia.]