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Protesters Decry Kyrgyz Politicians' Moscow Visits

BATKEN, Kyrgyzstan -- Dozens of people gathered on October 19 in the town of Batken in southern Kyrgyzstan to protest what they say are efforts by some political leaders to "seek protection in Russia," RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

The protesters voiced their concern over visits to Moscow by Kyrgyz political leaders both before and after the October 10 parliamentary elections.

Social Democratic Party leader Almazbek Atambaev, Ar-Namys (Dignity) party leader Feliks Kulov, Respublika (Republic) party leader Omurbek Babanov, and Ata-Jurt (Fatherland) party co-Chairman Myktybek Abdyldaev visited Moscow last week to meet top Russian officials.

All four parties won more than the minimum 5 percent of eligible voters needed to secure parliamentary representation. They are expected to form a coalition government.

An RFE/RL correspondent reports from Batken that the protesters are demanding that "Kyrgyzstan's domestic policy be defined and implemented within Kyrgyzstan, and not by other countries."