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Kyrgyzstan Tightens Rules On Public Assembly


President Kurmanbek Bakiev

President Kurmanbek Bakiev

In his latest step away from democratic reforms, Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev has approved legislative amendments that tighten restrictions on public demonstrations.

Reuters reports that the amendments ban activists from demonstrating next to "strategic facilities," including all government buildings. Activists will also face new limitations on the times when rallies may be held, and will be required to secure government approval ahead of any planned demonstrations.

Both the Kyrgyz opposition and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) have criticized the amendments as placing unnecessary restrictions on freedom of assembly.

Bakiev's new measures come as no surprise. The president, who came to power in a popular revolt in 2005 with promises of reforms and greater press freedoms, recently signed amendments to the country’s press law that appear to jeopardize the independence of the media in Kyrgyzstan.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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