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Kyrgyz Opposition Supporters Demand Release Of Jailed Politicians

Mukar Cholponbaev
BISHKEK -- About 300 supporters of Kyrgyzstan's opposition Ata-Jurt party gathered in Bishkek's central Ala-Too Square on March 13 to demand the release of three jailed party leaders.

The gathering was organized by the Movement to Save Kyrgyzstan.

The movement's leader, Mukar Cholponbaev, told RFE/RL that a document has been adopted by the activists calling on the government to release the three leaders.

The three are charged with provoking public unrest last year.

Authorities cited their role in violent protests in October 2012 by about 1,000 demonstrators in Bishkek, who demanded nationalization of the country’s Kumtor gold mine.

Cholponbaev says the letter to the government also requests the nationalization of Kumtor and constitutional reforms regarding the extraction of mineral resources in Kyrgyzstan.

Ata-Jurt activists said earlier that some 5,000 people were expected for their gathering.