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Former Kyrgyz Parliament Speaker Arrested

Protests in Bishkek on 17 June 19 June 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Kyrgyz authorities today confirmed the arrest of Kyrgyzstan's former speaker of parliament, Mukar Shaltakovich Cholponbaev, in connection with the takeover by protesters of the main government building in Bishkek on 17 June, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reported.

Omurbek Subanaliev, head of Bishkek City Directorate of Interior Affairs, told RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service of the arrest, saying Cholponbaev is suspected of being one of the organizers of the protest.

It's alleged that Cholponbaev was seen inside the government building, urging the protesters to continue their occupation.

Cholponbaev is a supporter of ousted Kyrgyz President Askar Akaev.

Akayev has denied involvement in the 17 June unrest in Bishkek, which saw hundreds of protesters temporarily taking control of the government's headquarters.

(RFE/RL /agencies)