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Anniversary Of Fatal Clashes Marked In Northern Kyrgyzstan

A local resident stands by his burned down house in the settlement of Maevka outside Bishkek, following ethnic clashes there last year
MAEVKA, Kyrgyzstan -- Residents of a small town near the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, are today marking the first anniversary of deadly clashes between local landowners and young Kyrgyz from remote villages who attempted to appropriate their lands and houses by force, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Five people died and dozens were severely injured in Maevka on April 19 last year, when hundreds of young men carrying sticks and metal bars attacked landowners and set houses alight.

Most of the landowners attacked in Maevka were Meskhetian Turks.

More than 200 students at local schools marched today from Maevka's central House of Culture to the house of the family of one victim of the clashes.

The marchers released dozens of doves into the sky to symbolize peace and concord among all the country's ethnic groups.

Islamic prayers to commemorate the victims were read at the ceremony.

Read more in Kyrgyz here