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Activists In Tatarstan Rally To Support Kyrgyz Uprising

Activists rally to support the Kyrgyz people in Kazan on April 13.

Activists rally to support the Kyrgyz people in Kazan on April 13.

KAZAN, Russia -- Activists in the capital of Tatarstan, Kazan, gathered to show solidarity with the people of Kyrgyzstan during their antigovernment protests, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service reports.

The demonstrators held signs such as "We are always with you, Kyrgyzstan," "Nothing is more powerful than the people's wrath!" and "People's government to Kyrgyzstan!"

Protester Erkin Sarsymbayev, the leader of the Kazan-based Movement for People's Social and Economic Rights, told RFE/RL that the purpose of the demonstration was to express support for the people of Kyrgyzstan.

At least 82 people died and more than 1,000 were injured in clashes on April 6-7 around Kyrgyzstan between antigovernment protesters and security forces, who fired on demonstrators.

Sarsymbayev blamed President Kurmanbek Bakiev and his family members for the difficult situation currently faced by Kyrgyz citizens.

Schoolteacher Elmira Yakhina, who lives in Tatarstan but is originally from Kyrgyzstan, said that the uprising was a natural response to Bakiev's authoritarian rule.

One demonstrator, Ravil Arslanov, said he would go to Kyrgyzstan himself to take part in the protest action to support the Kyrgyz people.

The demonstration was organized by the Kazakh community of Kazan and the local Communist Party.

The organizers say it is the first public action in Russia supporting the Kyrgyz uprising, which de facto ousted Bakiev last week.