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Kyrgyz Opposition protesting detention of its leaders

October 04, 2012, 13:56 UTC+3

"We intend to stand here until all the detained deputies have been released," one of the pickets said

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BISHKEK, October 4 (Itar-Tass) — Some 50 Kyrgyz Opposition activists picketed the building of the State National Security Committee in Bishkek on Thursday, in protest against the arrest of three of their leaders.

"We intend to stand here until all the detained deputies have been released," one of the pickets said, "otherwise we’ll be ready for more resolute actions, such as blocking highways."

Earlier in the day, press secretary of the Ata-Zhurt Party Nurgazy Anarkulov said dozens of thousands of people would rally in support of the Opposition leaders.

Mass protests will be held in southern regional centers of Osh, Jalal-Abad and Batken, as well as in the town of Karakol, the administrative centre of the Issyk-Kul region, and Bishkek. "We believe some 20,000 will rally in each of the southern cities; we plan to gather up to 5,000 supporters in Bishkek," Anarkulov said.

However, he promised that the rallies would be peaceful.

On Wednesday night, police arrested three leaders of the parliament's Opposition from the Ata-Zhurt Party: its leader Kamchybek Tashiyev, deputy speaker Talant Mamytov and lawmaker Sadyr Zhaparov. They are in custody for 48 hours on suspicion of involvement in the riots that occurred in Bishkek on Wednesday. Police suspect them of masterminding the riot.

Criminal proceedings were opened over "the attempt of violent government overthrow and calls for overthrowing government."

On Wednesday, a 500-strong rally demanded the nationalization of Kumtor, a large Kyrgyz-Canadian gold mining joint venture. They attempted to break through on to the premises of the government house which also houses the parliament and the presidential administration.

The servicemen guarding the building used stun grenades and tear gas to disperse the attackers. The crowd was edged out and dispersed across the city.

Twelve persons were injured in the clashes, mostly police officers.

The republic's Interior Ministry later said it fully controlled the situation. Vigilante teams from the "Patriot" people's association were recruited to help watch law and order in the city.

An inter-departmental group is investigating the riot.

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