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Protesters Block Kyrgyz Highway To Demand Relatives' Release

SUZAK, Kyrgyzstan -- Dozens of women blocked Kyrgyzstan's Osh-Bishkek highway today demanding the immediate release of relatives who were jailed last month in connection with the country's deadly ethnic unrest, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Authorities and security forces dispersed the protesters, who were on the highway near the Suzak district in the Jalal-Abad region, shortly after the demonstration began. But they returned to the highway later and again blocked the road.

The demonstrators said their relatives -- mostly men who were arrested as suspects involved in the deadly clashes between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in Jalal-Abad and Osh in June -- had nothing to do with the conflict.

As of late afternoon today, the authorities were still trying to persuade the women to end their blockade.

Scores of people have been arrested for alleged involvement in the unrest, which left at least 309 people dead and caused hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes.