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Abkhazian refugee sews up mouth, eyes protesting hit-and-run crash


TBILISI, June 15 (RIA Novosti) - A man from Abkhazia's district of Gali has sown up his mouth and eyes and threatens to stitch his ears to protest a hit-and-run accident at a rally of refugees in Georgia.

"I have done this because in the country there is no right to vote and the authorities see nothing," Ramaz Aronia told journalists on Monday.

The accident occurred earlier on Monday when a Toyota car with three young men inside rammed into a crowd of 200 protesters in front of the UN building in central Tbilisi, hitting three women.

When the protesters rushed to stop the attackers, several shots were fired from the car, which had government plates. Media reports said the people in the car were drunk.

All three victims have been hospitalized, with one remaining unconscious.

The protesters from the former Georgian republic, who continued the rally after the accident, demanded the attackers be detained. Aronia has announced a hunger strike and threatened to sew his ears if no one is punished.

In May 2003, Iranian Kurd Abas Amini stitched his eyes, ears and mouth in protest at his treatment by the British Home Office and was later granted asylum. Another Iranian asylum seeker, Shahin Portofeh, made a similar protest in July 2003 but lost his appeal to stay in Britain.

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