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Kyrgyz Opposition Leaders Charged With Attempt To Grab Power

Supporters of detained oppostion leaders protest in the southern Kyrgyz city of Jalal-Abad on October 4.
Supporters of detained oppostion leaders protest in the southern Kyrgyz city of Jalal-Abad on October 4.
Three Kyrgyz opposition deputies have been charged with stirring public unrest in an unsuccessful attempt to seize power, amid continued protests by their supporters.

Kamchybek Tashiev, Sadyr Japarov, and Talant Mamytov were transported from their detention facility for a court hearing in a Bishkek district court late on October 5 under heavy police guard.

Earlier in the day, some 700 opposition supporters had gathered in the southern city of Jalal-Abad to demand the immediate release of the three leaders of the Ata-Jurt (Homeland) opposition party.

Tashiev, Japarov, and Mamytov were detained on October 3 for their alleged role in violent protests by about 1,000 demonstrators in the capital, Bishkek.

The protesters were demanding the nationalization of the largest gold-mining operation in Kyrgyzstan, the Kumtor mine, which is owned by a Canada-based company.

Tashiev joined the crowd and called on protesters to overthrow the government. Some protesters broke into the fenced perimeter around the parliament building. Police subsequently dispersed the demonstrators.

Kyrgyzstan's Prosecutor General Aida Salyanova told a parliament session on October 4 that, according to Kyrgyz laws, an attempt to overthrow the government using force is punishable by 12 to 20 years imprisonment.

Ata-Jurt is the largest party in Kyrgyz parliament, although it is not in the governing coalition. The party has its power base in the southern provinces.

Kyrgyz media reported that the situation remained calm in Jalal-Abad on the evening of October 5.

However, the AKIpress news agency reported that supporters of the arrested lawmakers had erected two traditional yurts and put several benches in front of the Jalal-Abad provincial government's headquarters.

Protesters vowed to remain in front of the government building until the court rules in favor of the lawmakers.

Demonstrators also blocked a key highway to Bishkek.

Since gaining independence in 1991, the impoverished Central Asian nation has seen the overthrow of two presidents amid public protests.

President Askar Akaev was cast out of power in 2005 amid weeklong protests against corruption and nepotism.

Five years later, another popular uprising led to president Kurmanbek Bakiev's ouster.

With reporting by AP and
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