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Kyrgyzstan Review, 10 years ago




[09.09.2OO2] Kyrgyzstan, once a democratic exemplar, considers ban on protests

As a cross-country protest march plodded toward the capital, the Kyrgyz government on Monday submitted a bill to parliament calling for a three-month moratorium on rallies, assemblies and marches.
 
First Deputy Prime Minister Kurmanbek Osmonov said the proposal was drawn up "to protect the constitution and ensure social security in the republic."
 
Kyrgyzstan, once seen as the democratic success story of former Soviet Central Asia, has been increasingly troubled in recent years as President Askar Akayev cracks down on dissent.
 
Anger against Akayev soared after five people were killed when police fired on an opposition demonstration, the country's first political violence.
 
This week, a march of hundreds of people started out on an approximately 400-kilometer (250-mile) march to Bishkek to press demands for Akayev's resignation.
 
Also Monday, Interior Minister spokesman Dzholdoshbek Buzurmankulov said nine police officers who had been taken hostage by protesters last week were released on Sunday in the village of Kara-Su. He said the hostages had been held in a police vehicle, but did not give details of their release.
 
They were seized on Friday after a crowd of hundreds gathered to protest the arrest that day of seven opposition activists.
 
Associated Press, September 9, 2002

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