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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Thousands Rally For Maskhadov

GROZNY -- Thousands of people rallied in central Grozny on Thursday in support of Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov, who has promised to clamp down on crime in the separatist republic.

The gathering adopted a resolution calling for broader powers for Maskhadov, and urged him to crack down on rebel warlords and suspected kidnappers. Protesters shouted for an end to the crime wave.

Maskhadov imposed a one-month state of emergency Tuesday to try to end rampant crime and kidnappings in Chechnya. He called for people to turn out Thursday to support his decision.

The Chechen Security Ministry said 50,000 people attended the rally. After it ended, opposition groups gathered to urge Maskhadov's ouster, Itar-Tass said.

Maskhadov blamed the leader of a prominent group of Chechen Islamic militants for the beheadings of four Western hostages last week.

The group has denied any link with the killings, and threatened to attack Russia if authorities clamp down on their operations, Itar-Tass said Thursday.