Opposition activists arrested in Kyrgyzstan

Protesters clashed with police on Tuesday and dozens of activists were detained in Kyrgyzstan.

Opposition activists arrested in Kyrgyzstan

Protesters clashed with police on Tuesday and dozens of activists were detained in Kyrgyzstan.

The ex-Soviet republic, home to U.S. and Russian military air bases, marks five years this week since a violent revolt in March 2005 when protesters stormed the presidential headquarters in the capital Bishkek and brought President Kurmanbek Bakiyev to power.

With memories still fresh of the 2005 events, up to 30 activists were detained as they tried to break through heavy police lines at a pro-Bakiyev conference in central Bishkek.

"They detained our people in a brutal way," Temir Sariyev, an opposition leader, told Reuters. "We did not do anything wrong. We just wanted to present our declaration and demand that the delegates include our proposals in their discussion."

Police said they had detained 19 activists for holding an illegal rally but the opposition put the number at 30.

In the city of Osh in southern Kyrgyzstan, 200 protesters clashed with police as they rallied in support of Ismail Isakov, a jailed opposition politician, said a Reuters reporter there.

Up to 60 activists were whisked away in police vans as others shouted "Down with Bakiyev", the reporter said.

Speaking at the assembly, which brought together various pro-Bakiyev forces from village elders to senior government officials, Bakiyev lashed out at his critics.

"All they do is just shout 'Down (with the authorities)'," he said. "Our opposition can only offer biased criticism and all-out bad-mouthing instead of alternative programmes."

"Various events"

The opposition has threatened more protests if Bakiyev fails to accede to their demands, including releasing what they describe as political prisoners, removing Bakiyev's relatives from government posts and abolishing high utility fees.

Bakiyev was first elected in a 2005 vote judged fair by monitors.

"There has been a wave of repression against those who are angry with the way things are, who are ready to stand up for their rights," opposition leader Omurbek Tekebayev said at a police station where his colleagues were being questioned.

"We will start an active phase of action in various parts of Kyrgyzstan. We do not mean storming palaces, but we will hold various events ... to put pressure on the (authorities)."


Reuters

Güncelleme Tarihi: 23 Mart 2010, 16:41

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