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Former Kyrgyz Speaker Urges Supporters To Disband Protest

Supporters of Akmatbek Keldibekov block the Osh-Erkechtam highway on June 2.
Supporters of detained former Kyrgyz parliament speaker Akmatbek Keldibekov are continuing their protest, despite Keldibekov's call for them to unblock a highway in the southern province of Osh.

Keldibekov's letter to his supporters, urging them to abandon their action, was read aloud to protesters on June 5.

However, some 300 people are refusing to unblock the Osh-Erkechtam highway, demanding Keldibekov's release. Hundreds of trucks have been stuck along the highway since it was blocked on May 27.

On June 3, protesters clashed with police, severely injuring an officer.

Keldibekov, a member of the opposition Ata-Jurt (Fatherland) party, was arrested in November 2013 and charged with abuse of office and financial misdeeds while running the State Social Fund and Tax Service.

He also served as parliament speaker between 2010 and 2011.

Keldibekov's supporters say his arrest is politically motivated.