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Kyrgyz President Warns Against Potential Uprising

Kyrgyz President Akaev (left) with Russian President Vladimir Putin (file photo) Bishkek, 19 February 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Kyrgyzstan's President Askar Akaev today reiterated his warning that there can be no room for a Ukrainian- or Georgian-style revolution in his Central Asian country.

Akaev was speaking at an international science conference in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek.

Voters in Kyrgyzstan are due to go to the polls in legislative elections on 27 February.

Akaev has repeatedly accused Kyrgyz opposition groups of trying to foment an uprising, with help from abroad.

Opposition civic groups deny the charge and accuse the government of harassment.

An estimated 300 people attended an opposition-sponsored rally in Bishkek today. The demonstrators called for honest legislative elections, as well as freedom of the press.

Topchubek Turgunaliev, leader of opposition party Erkindik, accused Akaev of leading a campaign against the press.

"It is at the initiative of Akaev's team that many independent newspapers are being shut down," Turgunaliev charged. "At the initiative of Akaev's team, tens of independent journalists have been prosecuted and are being prosecuted."

Today's rally was observed by police, who did not interfere.

[For more on events in the region, see RFE/RL's dedicated Central Asia webpage.]