A violent coup in Tbilisi, which ousted President Gamsakhurdia in favor of the interim Military Council from December 20, 1991 to January 6, 1992, marked the start of the civil war in Georgia. Gamsakhurdia fled Georgia, but his armed supporters continued their resistance to the new regime, especially in Mingrelia (Samegrelo), and enjoyed significant support among the Georgian population in Abkhazia. In March 1992, the Military Council was transformed into the State Council of the Republic of Georgia led by the ethnic Georgian ex-Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union, Eduard Shevardnadze.
The War in Abkhazia
For more detailed account of the events, please see section: War in Abkhazia
The lingering ethnic discord in Abkhazia exacerbated when, on March 18, 1989, the Abkhaz nationalists, who viewed an increasingly active movement for Georgia's independence as a threat to their political privileges of a "titular minority", signed a petition to the central Soviet government at a mass meeting at Lykhny, Abkhazia, demanding the rights to secede from Georgia.