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Saturday, 18 May 2002

THOUSANDS OF PROTESTERS CONTINUE HIGHWAY BLOCKADE IN KYRGYZSTAN

Published in News Digest
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By empty (5/18/2002 issue of the CACI Analyst)

Thousands of picketers blocked one of the main highways in Kyrgyzstan on Saturday in the sixth day of protests that have set the Central Asian country on edge. The ministry estimated the number of picketers at about 2,000 but opposition members said there were as many as 8,000 and that they were ready to march to the capital. Protests throughout the country over the past week have called for President Askar Akayev to resign and for the government to drop charges against lawmaker Azimbek Beknazarov.
Thousands of picketers blocked one of the main highways in Kyrgyzstan on Saturday in the sixth day of protests that have set the Central Asian country on edge. The ministry estimated the number of picketers at about 2,000 but opposition members said there were as many as 8,000 and that they were ready to march to the capital. Protests throughout the country over the past week have called for President Askar Akayev to resign and for the government to drop charges against lawmaker Azimbek Beknazarov. Beknazarov was arrested earlier this year on charges of abuse of power dating from his time as a prosecutor, which he calls politically motivated because he criticized government policies including a border agreement with China that he said ceded too much land. He was released from jail in March after four people were killed in a clash between police and his supporters, the first time an opposition protest had turned violent in Kyrgyzstan\'s 10 years of post-Soviet independence. Police and demonstrators clashed on Thursday outside the parliament building in Bishkek and about 70 protesters were detained overnight. (AP)
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