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Police oust protesters from central square in Kyrgyzstan’s Karakol

October 07, 2013, 20:13 UTC+3

Government in Issyk-Kul Province, previously taken hostage, freed

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Photo ITAR-TASS/ Maxim Slutsky

Photo ITAR-TASS/ Maxim Slutsky

BISHKEK, October 7 (Itar-Tass) - The police commandoes have ousted the participants in a rally in the city of Karakol, the administrative centre of Issyk-Kul Province, Northern Kyrgyzstan, with the use of tear gas and stun grenades from the central square of the city, the republican Interior Ministry told Itar-Tass on Monday.

“The situation in Karakol has stabilized and is fully under control of the law enforcement agencies,” the ministry noted. According to the law enforcers, plenipotentiary representative of the country’s government in Issyk-Kul Province Emilbek Kaptagayev was also freed from captivity and “was not injured.” The participants in the protest action took him hostage several hours ago.

Meanwhile, according to the eyewitnesses, the situation in the city remains difficult. After the law enforcers ousted the demonstrators from the square, the participants in the rally began to meet in different parts of the city. “Now a big group of people has gathered at the trading centre in the centre of the city and are hurling stones at the policemen,” Karakol residents said. They said that the blasts of stun grenades are heard in the city from time to time. The city residents are afraid that “massive disorders” may break out overnight to Tuesday, because “the clashes between the protesters and the police commandoes continue.”

The participants in the protest action in Karakol has put forth as their main demand to revise the agreement with the Canadian company Centerra Gold Inc., which is developing the gold mine Kumtor in Issyk-Kul Province. Several days ago representatives of the company and the Kyrgyz government signed a memorandum under which the signatories will set up a joint venture and will divide the revenues received from the development of the gold mine in equal parts. The republican authorities believe that the previous leadership of the country signed an unprofitable agreement with the Canadian company four years ago and caused damage to the country. However, the protesters in Karakol believe that this time the agreements on Kumtor contradict the interests of country’s people and insist on a 70% state stake in the joint venture.

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