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Kyrgyz Protesters Demand Osh Council Majority


Osh Mayor Melis Myrzakmatov (right) on March 4, election day in the recent local voting
OSH, Kyrgyzstan -- Some 1,500 people have taken part in a protest in the southern Kyrgyzstan city of Osh to dispute local election results and demanding more seats for their political party on the city council.

The protesters, who dispute the results of Osh's recent elections, say their Uluttar Birimdigi (Unity of Nationalities) party fairly won 23-seat majority on the 45-seat city council.

Election officials, however, say the party won 21 seats.

Citing electoral fraud, authorities have annulled results from three polling stations where Uluttar Birimdigi claims to have won.

The protesters, who support Kyrgyz nationalist Osh Mayor Melis Myrzakhmatov, are demanding a new vote in these three areas.

Home to a significant Uzbek minority, Osh was at the center of clashes between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in June 2010, in which around 450 people were killed and many tens of thousands left homeless or forced to flee.