Thursday, 16 May 2002

POLICE KICK AND DETAIN PROTESTERS IN FRONT OF KYRGYZ PARLIAMENT AS UNREST MOUNTS

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Protesters and riot police clashed in Kyrgyzstan\'s parliament square on Thursday as demonstrations against the government picked up momentum, prompting one lawmaker to warn that this Central Asian nation may be heading toward a civil war. Demonstrators who gathered in front of the parliament building in the capital Bishkek were kicked in the stomach and dragged away by their hands and feet, opposition activists said. More than 90 people were detained, including the head of the Kyrgyz Committee for Human Rights and many journalists, according to activists and human rights groups.
Protesters and riot police clashed in Kyrgyzstan\'s parliament square on Thursday as demonstrations against the government picked up momentum, prompting one lawmaker to warn that this Central Asian nation may be heading toward a civil war. Demonstrators who gathered in front of the parliament building in the capital Bishkek were kicked in the stomach and dragged away by their hands and feet, opposition activists said. More than 90 people were detained, including the head of the Kyrgyz Committee for Human Rights and many journalists, according to activists and human rights groups. The Kyrgyz government said 40 people were detained, and insisted that police acted \"according to legal norms.\" Lawmaker Myrzakan Subanov warned that the protests, which began earlier this week and have already blocked the country\'s main north-south highway, were in danger of escalating out of control, prompting a civil war in this already edgy country. \"If previously bursts of outrage were of a local character, now unrest and people\'s indignation have acquired a nationwide character,\" lawmaker Adakham Madumarov said at Thursday\'s parliament session in remarks shown on Russia\'s RTR television. The International Helsinkni Group called on authorities to immediately release those detained, who face fines of dlrs 15 or 15 days in jail. (AP)
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