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Fifteen Protesters Arrested Over Unrest At Kyrgyz Gold-Mining Site

Protesters rally in Toguz-Toro against Makmal's new facility on February 7.

BISHKEK -- Authorities in the Jalal-Abad region in southern Kyrgyzstan say 15 people have been arrested over a protest at a gold-mining site that turned violent.

The chairman of the Atai village council in the Toguz-Toro district, Ulanbek Sheripov, told RFE/RL on April 17 that the situation in the district remained tense.

Thousands of residents of the Toguz-Toro district demonstrated on April 10 against plans to build a new gold-processing facility near the town of Kazarman.

Protesters set several buildings of the Kyrgyz-Chinese joint venture Makmal GL Developing on fire and threw stones at police when they arrived.

Law enforcement officials told RFE/RL at the time that additional police forces had been deployed to the district from Bishkek to take the situation in Kazarman under control.

Prime Minister Sapar Isakov fired the district governor on April 12 for failing to prevent the unrest.

Several Kyrgyz lawmakers have called for a thorough investigation and accused local authorities of mishandling the conflict that had been brewing for some time around the gold mines in the region.