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Several Kyrgyz police officers injured in regional center protest

January 15, 2014, 17:48 UTC+3 BISHKEK

Protesters were trying to break through into the building of the regional administration

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© AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev

BISHKEK, January 15. /ITAR-TASS/. Several police officers were injured in Kyrgyzstan's second largest city of Osh during a scuffle with protesters who were trying to break through into the building of the regional administration, Interior Ministry spokesman Zhorobai Abdraimov told Itar-Tass on Wednesday.

"It's unclear how many officers were injured, the information is being specified," Abdraimov said. "However, there is no doubt that several have been injured."

Earlier on Wednesday, Town Council deputies elected Aitmamat Kadyrbayev the new mayor who got 26 of 45 votes. Supporters of losing candidate Melisbek Myrzakmatov staged a protest demanding "an honest vote." Some tried to force their way into the building of the regional administration, but were stopped by a police cordon. The protesters then stoned the police.

"As of that time, the rally had ended," the spokesman said. "In general, the situation in Osh has normalized and is controlled by law-enforcement bodies."

Before dispersing, the protesters announced that the losing candidate was "people's mayor." They also issued a threat to the authorities saying they would seize the building of the regional administration when a warm spell began. At the Wednesday rally, 19 deputies of the political party led by former Osh mayor Murzakmatov announced their resignation.

In Bishkek, the state's capital, Kubanychbek Kurmatov, 50, took over with 41 of 43 council members backing the Leningrad University history graduate, hailed by analysts as one of the republic's best state-sector managers.

Kurmatov headed the state's customs authority before being appointed the government's representative in the country's Chuisk region, where Bishkek is located, last spring.

Bishkek's new mayor promised attention to problems with garbage removal, street lighting and public transport, also noting that the city's cultural life had waned dramatically from past days as the region's artistic hub.

The municipal administration would be reshuffled, he pledged, and was ready "to account for his work as early as in 100 days".

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