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Anti-Bakiev Protesters On Hunger Strike In North Kyrgyzstan

NARYN, Kyrgyzstan -- Seven residents of the city of Naryn in northern Kyrgyzstan have launched a hunger strike to demand that all associates of ousted former President Kurmanbek Bakiev be dismissed from official posts in the region, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Bakiev was ousted after mass protests on April 7 and fled the country, initially to Kazakhstan. He is currently in Belarus at the invitation of Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

One of the protesters, Kanayim Berdibaeva, told RFE/RL that the hunger strikers will continue their protest for three days in Naryn. Then, if their demands are not met, they will march to Bishkek.

Naryn Deputy Mayor Chynara Abdraimova met with the hunger strikers but failed to dissuade them from their protest.

Meanwhile, the acting governor of Naryn Oblast, Adyl Esenbekov, told RFE/RL that political forces interested in "creating obstacles to holding a referendum on the country's new constitution" might be behind the hunger strikers. The referendum is scheduled for June 27.