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Kyrgyz Protesters Occupy Government Building

A 28 February opposition rally (file photo) Jalalabad, Kyrgyzstan; 4 March 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Kyrgyz protesters are continuing to occupy a government building in the southern town of Jalalabad, demanding the resignation of President Askar Akaev.

Some 500 protestors are estimated to still be in or around the building. Earlier in the day, the number of demonstrators at the site was about 3,000 people.

Kalen Kalbaev, a participant in the demonstration, put the protestors' demands this way: "We, the participants of today's rally, demand the following: President [Askar Akaev] should immediately resign from his position. There should be early elections for the Kyrgyz Republic's presidency. We strongly demand that [the authorities] hold the runoff for the parliamentary elections set for March 13 [this year] in full accordance with the law."

Also today, around 3,000 protestors blocked a road in the southern rural district of Nooken. They demanded an annulment of the election results and the resignation of both the head of the local electoral committee and the head of the district administration.

The two rallies were among the largest that have occurred across Kyrgyzstan this week amid claims of widespread voting irregularities during the 27 February first-round of parliament elections.

The first round was criticized by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe as falling short of international democratic standards.

Kyrgyzstan is due to hold its second round of parliamentary elections on 13 March.

(RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service, AP, AFP)

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