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Villagers Near Bishkek Demonstrate, Demand Electricity, Clean Water

BISHKEK -- Some 500 protesters from a village near the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, blocked a major highway today, demanding the authorities provide their village with clean water and electricity, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

RFE/RL's correspondent reports from the spot that the protesters from the village of Ak-Jar used a KamAZ truck to block the road.

Local officials met with the protesters and persuaded them to unblock the highway that connects Central Asia's largest market -- Dordoi, in Bishkek -- with Kazakhstan.

They promised the demonstrators that construction of a power line to Ak-Jar will begin on June 9.

The village, on the outskirts of Bishkek, was built five years ago, mainly by newcomers from rural areas. Many of them had no legal permission to build homes there. Because construction was spontaneous, without a formal development plan, the village lacks proper infrastructure and amenities.