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Relatives of some of the six Aksy victims at a memorial ceremony in Bishkek on March 16 (RFE/RL) BISHKEK, March 17, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Kyrgyzstan today marks the fifth anniversary of a demonstration in the south of the country in which six protesters were killed by security forces.


Commemoration events and rallies were held in southern Kyrgyzstan's Aksy district where the incident took place, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reported.


The violent events in Aksy on March 17, 2002, led to the resignation of the nation's prime minister -- current President Kurmanbek Bakiev -- and forced the government to make concessions to the opposition.


Bakiev and opposition leaders attended today's commemoration ceremonies in the village of Karajygach, in the Jalalabad region. Bakiev urged the crowd not to politicize the five-year-old events in Aksy.


"I am so sorry that the [investigation of the Aksy criminal case] has not been closed for the reason that the would-be-guilty people were pardoned and some would-be witnesses left the country," he said. "[However], I would say that the guilty people did receive justice. It is a great punishment for those who became outcasts in exile from their nation and motherland."


The opposition wants authorities to bring to justice those responsible for the Aksy shootings.


Opposition deput Azimbek Beknazarov -- the leader of the Asaba (Flag) party -- said that until justice will be brought against those responsible for the shootings at Aksy, the events at Aksy will always be considered a political matter.


The Kyrgyz Prosecutor-General's Office recently announced that the Aksy case has been reopened for further investigation.

RFE/RL Central Asia Report


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