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Kyrgyz Vendors Demand Osh Market Be Reopened

OSH, Kyrgyzstan -- Some 100 protesters gathered in front of the mayor's office in the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh to demand the immediate reopening of the city's central market, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

The outdoor market -- which is one of the oldest and busiest in Central Asia -- suffered severe damage during deadly clashes between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz on June 10-15 and was closed.

Protesters say that at least 10,000 people used to work at the market, which has been closed for almost two months. They say vendors are now unable to repay their debts. The protesters warned that if their demand is not met they will consider other forms of protest.

Deputy Mayor Taalay Sabirov met with protesters and explained to them that the condition of the market no longer meets basic safety and sanitary requirements, as many buildings were destroyed in the unrest.

He recommended that the vendors move to a smaller market in the western part of the city until the central market's facilities are repaired.