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Kyrgyz Protesters Still Occupying Supreme Court


http://gdb.rferl.org/088C068A-FAC0-43EF-B82A-DCD0192123D3_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/088C068A-FAC0-43EF-B82A-DCD0192123D3_mw800_mh600.jpg Bishkek, 2 May 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Nearly 100 protesters are occupying the Supreme Court building in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek, demanding the resignation of all of the court's members, including its chairman, Kurmanbek Osmonov.

The former Kyrgyz opposition that now makes up the interim government has voiced support for the protesters' complaints about what they see as a biased judiciary. But they have also denounced the occupation of the building.

About 25 of the protesters began a hunger strike last week. But 10 of them stopped on doctors' concerns that they were endangering their health. The others remain on the hunger strike. The Bishkek mayor's office is providing health care to the strikers, who have mainly occupied on court room within the building and are acting peacefully.

Jypar Jekshe, the leader of the Kyrgyzstan Democratic Movement Party, told RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service that the occupation must be regarded as an emergency situation: "[The illegal] occupation of the judiciary premises and making it difficult for [the judges] to enter is not democracy; it defeats the purpose of everything. Of course, the judiciary is corrupt. It is not reliable. It is not fair. We can't argue with people who say it should be changed. But there are other ways to achieve the judiciary's resignation."

Osmonov had submitted a letter of resignation to parliament and interim President Kurmanbek Bakiev. But parliament was unable to rule on a decision yesterday because it was unable to get a quorum. It is currently not scheduled to meet again until 12 May.
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