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Kyrgyz Opposition Stages Rally

Participants in today's rally called for fair elections Bishkek, 9 January 2005 (RFE/RL) -- About 100 protesters staged a protest rally in the Kyrgyz capital today, demanding that electoral authorities allow ex-ambassadors and opposition leaders to participate in upcoming parliamentary elections.

Opposition Ata Zhurt party co-chair Roza Otunbaeva, former parliament speaker Medetkan Sherimkulov, opposition lawmakers, and representatives of NGOs were among the organizers and participants of the rally.

They demanded that free and fair parliamentary elections be held in February, chanting "Police -- with us. National Security Service -- with people! Akaev - Go Away!"

Sherimkulov told the gathering that power in the Kyrgyzstan should be transferred by peaceful and legal means. He was referring to presidential elections set for 30 October.

Yesterday, President Askar Akaev met with officials of the Chui region in the town of Tokmok. He called the opposition a radical force seeking to obtain power by radical means.

Opposition leader said they will continue their protest tomorrow.

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