On January 25, around 200 residents of Gali (Gal) region in Abkhazia rallied against the planned closure of checkpoints along the de facto border between Abkhazia and Georgia proper, on the River Enguri, Ekho Kavkaza reported.
There are currently six border checkpoints along the border, of which four are open. After the planned changes take effect, only the Ingur checkpoint, near the town of Zugdidi, will remain operational.
The protesters barricaded the road leading to the Ingur checkpoint. Most of the protesters came from the village of Batiguara, where another checkpoint is located. Following its closure, which is planned to take place today, people from Batiguara will be forced to travel between 15–30 km, on a special bus provided by the local authorities, to the Ingur checkpoint in order to cross into Georgian-controlled territory, instead of the current 70 metres.
According to the head of the local administration, Temur Nadaraya, everything necessary to ensure people’s convenient transport to the Ingur checkpoint has been done, and that ‘certain forces’ connected to illegal border zone businesses were responsible for provoking the protest.
The protesters were met by the head of the State Security Service of Gali region, Temur Shergeliya, and representatives of law enforcement agencies, following which the protesters dispersed.