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Kyrgyz City Residents Urged To Return Weapons

A burned-out police car near the administration building in Talas on April 7
TALAS, Kyrgyzstan -- Supporters of the interim government in Kyrgyzstan's northwestern city of Talas are campaigning for the return of weapons and ammunition taken by local residents from police and security forces during last week's uprising, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Local businesses have announced financial payments will be made to those who return weapons to the new authorities.

It is unclear how many guns were confiscated by antigovernment protesters during the clashes, when the demonstrators occupied the city hall and main police station.

Siren Sheishenov, a coordinator of the self-declared interim government in Talas, told RFE/RL today that one rocket-propelled grenade launcher, seven pistols, 12 AK-47 assault rifles, four Winchester rifles, and some 350 bullets had so far been returned to police.

The clashes in Talas on April 6 spurred even larger antigovernment protests in the capital, Bishkek, the following day.

President Kurmanbek Bakiev was forced to leave Bishkek for his native village in the country's south. Officials say 84 people were killed and more than 1,000 injured during the unrest.