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Kyrgyz In Osh Protest Against International Police


Hundreds of thousands of ethnic Uzbeks fled their homes in southern Kyrgyzstan during the violence.

Hundreds of thousands of ethnic Uzbeks fled their homes in southern Kyrgyzstan during the violence.

OSH, Kyrgyzstan -- Several dozen demonstrators have rallied in the southern city of Osh, demanding that the government revise its approval for an international police force for Kyrgyzstan, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Kyrgyz President Roza Otunbaeva agreed on July 16 to a proposal from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) for an advisory police force of some 50 officers to be sent to southern Kyrgyzstan.

Otunbaeva said in Bishkek that the police, who would be unarmed and would stay initially for four months, would accompany Kyrgyz police in Osh and Jalal-Abad.

She added that the international police would conduct consultations and training for Kyrgyz police. They would also monitor the human rights situation and prevent abuses of power by local authorities.

The OSCE's permanent council is due to make a final decision on deploying the police force when it meets in Vienna on July 22.

The proposal to send international police to Kyrgyzstan follows reports by international human rights groups of physical abuse, torture, and the arbitrary detention of ethnic Uzbeks by Kyrgyz security forces in Osh.

Deadly clashes in mid-June between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in Osh and Jalal-Abad left at least 309 people dead and caused hundreds of thousands to flee their homes.

Demonstrators in Osh today also demanded that Osh deputy commander Bakhtiyar Fattakhov be sacked and several leaders of the local Uzbek community be arrested for their alleged roles in the violence.

The acting deputy governor of Osh Oblast, Taalaybek Zikirov, said the protest was unfortunate. He called on demonstrators to concentrate on preserving stability in the country.
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