Police in Kyrgyzstan have used stun grenades to disperse hundreds of protesters at a rally against the detention of a former parliamentary deputy who plans to run for the presidency.
Dozens of demonstrators were detained in the March 25 confrontation, which underscored growing political tensions ahead of a November presidential election in the Central Asian country.
About 500 demonstrators started to gather outside the security service headquarters in Bishkek after authorities detained Sadyr Japarov on March 25 upon his return to Kyrgyzstan from three years of self-imposed exile.
He faces charges of taking a government official hostage in 2013.
A Reuters photographer said some protesters started scuffling with police and throwing bottles at authorities a few hours into the protest.
Kyrgyzstan’s Interior Ministry says it detained 68 people.
Zhaparov had been a senior member of the government and an adviser to former President Kurmanbek Bakiev.
After Bakiev was ousted in 2010, Zhaparov became a member of parliament.
But in 2013, Zhaparov was sentenced to 18 months in prison on charges of attempting to violently seize power after he and other lawmakers tried to force their way into the presidential palace during a protest.
With reporting by Reuters, AFP, and Interfax