BISHKEK, October 8 (Itar-Tass) - Kyrgyz police have detained 23 people for participating in mass riots in Karakol, the administrative center of the republic's Issyk-Kul region, the Kyrgyz Interior Ministry told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.
"The operation to expose the masterminds and most active participants in the riot continued late into the night," the Ministry said. "All the detainees have been brought to Bishkek."
On Monday, several hundred people rallied in Karakol's central square demanding denunciation of the agreement with Canada's Centerra Gold Inc which is developing the Kumtor gold field. Several days ago, the Kyrgyz government and the Canadian company agreed to set up a joint venture which would continue to operate the Kumtor field on parity basis.
To demonstrate how serious they were, the protesters took hostage Emilbek Kaptagayev, the government's envoy in the Issyk-Kul region. On Monday evening, special task force police managed to free him, and drove the crowd from the square using tear gas and stun grenades.
But eyewitnesses claimed clashes between police and protesters continued in Karakol for several more hours. Five persons were hurt in the clashes.
Issyk-Kul prosecutors opened a criminal case over four articles of the criminal code, including hostage taking and hooliganism. The case will be investigated by the State National Security Committee.