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Osh Officials Prevent Protest Against OSCE Police In Kyrgyzstan

There have been a number of demonstrations against the OSCE police mission in Osh, including this one last week.
OSH, Kyrgyzstan -- The authorities in Kyrgyzstan's southern city of Osh have prevented a mass protest against the deployment of an international police force in the Osh and Jalal-Abad regions, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Sonunbek Junusbaev, one of the activists who planned the protest, told RFE/RL that the Osh commandant ordered the removal of a yurt -- the traditional Kyrgyz nomadic dwelling -- from in front of a local theater on August 4.

The protest organizers had set up the yurt earlier this week as a symbol of their protest.

Several protests against the planned deployment of an advisory police force under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in southern Kyrgyzstan were held in Bishkek and other cities last week.

The 52 unarmed international police are expected to arrive in Osh and Jalal-Abad in early September to accompany police on patrols, engage in training and advising local police, and to monitor the human rights situation.

The OSCE and the Kyrgyz government decided to send the police mission in an effort to restore order after clashes between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz killed at least 356 people and uprooted hundreds of thousands more in June.

International human rights groups have reported that Kyrgyz police and other security forces are arbitrarily detaining ethnic Uzbeks and also beating them.

The OSCE police are to stay in the southern regions for four months.