South Ossetia leader vows to prevent 'revolution'
The strongman leader of rebel Georgian region South Osssetia vowed Monday to prevent a "revolution" as protests against cancelled elections entered their sixth day.
"This revolution will not happen here and we will not allow anyone to destabilise the situation inside the republic," said the outgoing leader of the tiny Moscow-backed province, Eduard Kokoity, news agency Interfax reported.
South Ossetia, which was the focus of the 2008 Georgia-Russia war, has been rocked by unprecedented protests since a court ruling annulled a female opposition candidate's surprise leadership poll victory in late November.
A new election has been scheduled for March 25.
But Alla Dzhioyeva, who has declared herself president, maintained her defiance by calling on Kokoity to leave office within two days.
"Within two days you can leave us in peace," she said, according to Interfax.
Dzhioyeva's supporters have maintained a round-the-clock protest camp in the rundown main town of Tskhinvali where hundreds have rallied daily since last Wednesday despite heavy snow and a strong armed security presence.
They have said they will inaugurate her as leader of the impoverished region themselves on December 10 if the court does not reverse its ruling.
South Ossetia's patron Russia last week sent a senior administration official to try to defuse the crisis, which has embarrassed the Kremlin after the candidate it backed was defeated in the leadership vote.
Talks so far have continued without results.
Moscow recognised the independence of South Ossetia and another breakaway Georgian region, Abkhazia, shortly after the 2008 war despite other world powers insisting both territories remain an integral part of Georgia.
© 2011 AFP