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Kyrgyzstan: Dozens Of Protesters Arrested In Bishkek

Bishkek, 18 November 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Kyrgyz police today arrested 63 protesters in the capital Bishkek as they tried to stage an unauthorized demonstration. Interior Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Pashenko said the protesters were calling for the resignation of President Askar Akaev and attempting to block city streets.

The incident was the latest in a series of protests against the Kyrgyz government, many of them in response to the treatment of opposition figures. Nearly 130 protesters were detained over the weekend at an authorized rally in support of opposition figure Usen Sydykov, but most were later released.

Today some 1,500 people demonstrated in the center of Aksy district, demanding that the government fulfill its responsibility to punish those responsible for the deaths of five protesters in Aksy in March.

Meanwhile, some 6,000 government supporters rallied in Bishkek to denounce the recent opposition protests.