S.Ossetia protesters refuse to leave square for Duma polls

Thousands of opposition protesters in the partly recognized South Ossetian republic have refused to leave the square to cast their votes in the Russian parliamentary elections due on Sunday.

The protesters, most of whom have Russian citizenship, are rallying in support of former presidential candidate Alla Dzhioyeva who won the November 27 runoff presidential polls in the former Georgian republic, as preliminary results showed. The court, however, annulled the outcome, citing violations.

The Russian embassy in South Ossetia, a republic recognized by Russia and few other countries, said they would decide on Sunday whether to provide a mobile polling station for the protesters on the square, Russian consul Tamerlan Zaseyev said.

He added that under law mobile polling stations are only used in emergencies, for example for disabled people.

In the runoff, Dzhioyeva emerged with 57%, leaving behind Kremlin-backed rival Anatoly Bibilov with 40%.

With a population of 70,000, South Ossetia has been a volatile area since the 1990s. Tensions between Georgia and Russian-backed separatists in South Ossetia exploded into a five-day war between Russia and Georgia in 2008. South Ossetia has since been recognized by Russia and enjoyed financial support from the bigger neighbor.


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