President Bakiev addressing the protesters in Bishkek on March 31 (RFE/RL)
BISHKEK, March 31, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- A demonstration today in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek ended without incident, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reported.
Some 1,000 people had gathered to show their support for Rysbek Akmatbaev after the Central Election Committee barred him on March 30 from running in an election to fill a vacant seat in parliament.
The Interior Ministry ordered troops to surround the government building where protesters gathered and later armed police appeared also.
Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev eventually came out to meet with protesters and called on them to disperse peacefully.
"I believe that the justice system will make a decision in the framework of justice and law, that is why I ask you, I appeal to you, who have gathered here today, please do not disturb [public] order in the city, and disperse peacefully and safely," he said. "The court should make its own decision."
Most of the protesters came from the northeastern Issyk-Kul region, where Akmatbaev hoped to be a candidate.
Akmatbaev said he would appeal the commission's decision. A court is expected to hear that appeal next week.