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Unrest Continues in Tskhinvali as Supreme Court Annuls Election Result

By Ernest Petrosyan
Thursday, December 1
Unrest in Tskhinvali continues due to the verdict of the region's Supreme Court which annulled the results of the presidential runoff that was held at the beginning of the week. The runoff has initially been called for Alla Jioeva. According to reports from Tskhinvali, the regime's militia and armed forces, mobilized in the government building, have made several successful warning shots to ward off a few thousand supporters of Jioyeva who had gathered on the city’s main square and attempted to storm the building.

The protest supporting Jioeva started at 14:00 in front of South Ossetian de-facto government building. The current de-facto president, Eduard Kokoity, was having a press conference in the building. They demanded Kokoity’s resignation and transition of power to Jioeva.

Jioeva was later allowed to enter the governmental building, RIA NOVOSTI reports. Jioeva and former Defense Minister Anatoly Barankevich entered, where the Central Election Commission (CEC) is located.

Jioeva announced to her supporters on Wednesday that she had told the outgoing leader Kokoity to overturn the ruling by the Supreme Court which annulled Sunday’s presidential runoff in which Jioeva had been declared the winner.

According to the protestors, they demand the denouncement of the Supreme Court's decision, if not then they intend to storm the building. "If they shoot us, and among them are our brothers from North Ossetia who have been brought in to pacify us, we will nevertheless continue fighting," a protestor said.

Earlier on Wednesday, Jioeva and Barankevich, one of her key supporters who was the breakaway region’s Secretary of the National Security Council and split with Kokoity after the August 2008 war with Georgia, met Russian diplomats in the Russian embassy in Tskhinvali. The Russian Foreign Ministry said on November 30 that all political forces should respect a "ruling" by the Supreme Court annulling Sunday’s runoff results in which the Kremlin-backed candidate, Anatoly Bibilov, came in behind Jioeva. "Moscow is closely following developments in a friendly neighboring state,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in the statement. “We are interested in the calm and stable situation being maintained in the young republic and in political processes developing exclusively within a legal framework. For that to happen it is necessary for all the public-political forces to respect decisions taken by the supreme bodies of the government," the statement continues.

"We had a serious conversation,” Jioeva said after the meeting with the Russian diplomats. “We have requested help in protecting the people’s choice. We have been promised that our demands would be conveyed to the Russian leadership", she said.

Meanwhile, an anti-Russian mood prevails in Tskhinvali due to the open lobbying of the Kremlin and Kokoity-backed candidate Bibilov. This mood has increased after the statement of Russia's MFA supporting the Supreme Court's decision.

The current leader, Eduard Kokoity, as expected, attributed the unrest of the opposition to the interference from outside, by which Georgia is implied. "We are informed, that these events are taking place with support from outside. We also know that the protest, which is taking place in front of the government building is being broadcast live on Georgian television."

Yet, the representative of the monitoring group from the international organization CIS-EMO, Sergey Seredenko, assessed Supreme Court's decision as a disgrace.