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Kyrgyz Opposition, Military Vie For Venue

Kyrgyz soldiers march in a parade on March 24 to mark the first anniversary of the toppling of the regime of Askar Akaev (file photo) (RFE/RL) May 22, 2006 -- Kyrgyzstan's Defense Minister today announced plans to hold a military parade on Bishkek's central Alatoo Square on May 27, a day on which opposition supporters were due to rally there against the government.

Ismail Isakov denied the parade -- meant to mark both Army Day and Border Guard Day -- is aimed at disrupting the opposition's plans, saying it was purely "coincidental" that the military parade and the antigovernment rally are to take place on the same site.

Army Day in Kyrgyzstan falls on May 29, while Border Guard Day is generally celebrated on May 28.

Opposition lawmaker and former speaker of parliament Omurbek Tekebaev called the decision to bring military festivities forward "irresponsible."

Up to 10,000 opposition supporters rallied on Alatoo Square on April 29 to demand the resignation of President Kurmanbek Bakiev and his government.

(AKIpress, Kabar,

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