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    Abkhazia Interior Minister Suspended Following Opposition Protest

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    The president of the autonomous Caucasus republic of Abkhazia ordered the suspension of the interior minister, a statement on the presidential website said Tuesday.

    SUKHUMI (Abkhazia), (Sputnik) – It adds that Minister Leonid Dzapshba’s first deputy will assume the role of acting interior minister.

    "President Raul Khajimba signed a decree on the dismissal of the Minister of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia from performing his duties during the prosecutor’s inspection," the statement reads.

    News broke earlier in the day that opposition protesters demanding Dzapshba’s dismissal attempted to storm the ministry. The opposition demands his removal due to a growing crime rate and the ministry's alleged clampdown on free expression at an early presidential elections referendum that the opposition wants to postpone from this week until this fall.

    After that the protesters rushed to the doors of the building chanting "Go out!" referring to Dzapshba.

    Commenting on the situation, Khajimba said that the protests were an attempt to destabilize the situation in the republic, adding that the opposition uses resignation of Dzapshba as a pretext.

    The opposition demanded Dzapshba’s removal due to a growing crime rate and the ministry's alleged clampdown on free expression at an early presidential elections referendum that the opposition wants to postpone from this week until this fall.

    Abkhazia and South Ossetia declared their independence from Georgia in the early 1990s and were recognized by Russia following the 2008 conflict when Georgia launched a military offensive against the breakaway republics.

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