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Thousands Of Police, 'Volunteers' Deployed In Southern Kyrgyz City

OSH -- Some 3,000 police officers have been deployed in Kyrgyzstan's southern city of Osh days before local elections and a planned government protest.

The Osh regional police department's spokesman, Jenish Ashyrbaev, told RFE/RL that, additionally, some 2,000 volunteers had joined the police officers in Osh's central square on March 22.

According to Ashyrbaev, the police and volunteer deployment in the city center is "a planned event to exercise safety on the eve of local elections" scheduled for March 27.

Opposition groups announced earlier that they plan a mass protest in the city on March 24.

On March 22, some 700 supporters of the opposition gathered in another southern city, Kerben, where they criticized the government for its "inability" to solve the ongoing standoff along a disputed segment of the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border.