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Kyrgyz Activists Protest OSCE Police Deployment

Protesters gathered in cities around Kyrgyzstan, including the southern city of Osh
Protesters gathered in cities around Kyrgyzstan, including the southern city of Osh
TALAS, Kyrgyzstan -- Dozens of activists have protested in Kyrgyz cities about the planned international police deployment in the south of the country, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

In the northern city of Talas, representatives of the Ak-Shumkar (White Falcon) party, the Kyrgyz Social Democratic Party, the Committee to Protect Revolution, the Civil Society movement, and various youth organizations gathered at the Ak-Shumkar's offices on August 11 and signed a petition to the government protesting a decision by the Kyrgyz government and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to send international police to southern Kyrgyzstan.

The protesters wrote in their petition that previous examples in former Yugoslavia and Georgia "clearly show what happens to countries where international police and military forces are sent [to foreign countries]." The petitioners said the deployment of international police in any country leads to the secession of one of that country's regions.

The petitioners asked the local government to allow a mass gathering in the city to challenge the OSCE's plans.

In Osh, former Foreign Minister Alikbek Jekshenkulov spoke at a rally against the police deployment. He said the sending of OSCE police would "provoke more interethnic clashes and worsen the situation in the region."

A small rally against the police deployment was also held in Bishkek.

The OSCE plans to send 52 policemen to the southern regions of Osh and Jalal-Abad to monitor the aftermath of deadly ethnic clashes that took place there in mid-June. The international police are due to hold consultations and training for the local police and to monitor them while making patrols.

Kyrgyz President Roza Otunbaeva said that the international police would be unarmed and would serve for a period of four months.

OSCE officials said last week that they are hoping to send the police force to Kyrgyzstan in September.