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Kyrgyzstan: Thousands Call For President To Resign

Bishkek, 17 June 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Thousands of people gathered in the southern Kyrgyz city of Djalalabad today demanding, among other things, that President Askar Akaev resign. Many of the protesters in Djalalabad started marching there on foot from the town of Tash-Komur, to the north, last week. The demonstrators are protesting legal proceedings against parliament deputy Azimbek Beknazarov and are demanding punishment for those responsible for the March killings of demonstrators in the southern village of Kerben.

The Kyrgyz opposition said there were between 7,000 to 8,000 people demonstrating in Djalalabad while local police said the number was closer to 1,000.

Protests have continued in Kyrgyzstan almost unabated since the start of the year over a number of issues. The government resigned last month when a special commission found police and local authorities were responsible for the killings in Kerben.