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Detention Sparks Protest Rally In Southern Kyrgyz City

Uzgen (file photo) is near Osh, one of the centers of deadly violence in June.
Uzgen (file photo) is near Osh, one of the centers of deadly violence in June.
UZGEN, Kyrgyzstan -- Officials in the southern Kyrgyz city of Uzgen say a crowd of several hundred people rallied today to demand the release of a local man detained on suspicion of illegal arms possession, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Local police chief Bakyt Matmusaev told RFE/RL that security forces had detained the man after acting on information he had weapons in his home.

District head Alisher Bakyshev told RFE/RL that around 300 people had gathered, though Matmusaev put the number closer to 2,000.

Bakyshev said a crowd initially gathered during the raid in a mainly Uzbek neighborhood, with some shouting that security forces had come to attack them. He said police fired shots in the air to disperse them.

Bakyshev said people then gathered at the local police building to demand the man's release.

He said the crowd was mainly made up of ethnic Uzbeks, and that the demonstrators later dispersed.

It's not clear if the man is still in custody or if any weapons were found in the raid.

Uzgen is near Osh, site of much of the interethnic violence that left nearly 400 people dead in June.

Uzgen was quiet during the June violence, but was the site of deadly clashes between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in 1990.