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Monday, June 20, 2005


Speaker arrested after Kyrgyz takeover

From The Guardian:

former parliament speaker has been arrested in the brief takeover of Kyrgyzstan's government headquarters last week, according to a news report Sunday.

Mukar Cholponbayev, who served as speaker of the Central Asian nation's lower parliament house in the late 1990s, was arrested in the capital Bishkek on Saturday, the Interfax news agency reported, citing an unidentified Interior Ministry official.

According to Interfax, the official said Cholponbayev was suspected of helping organize the takeover Friday, in which about 2,000 supporters of a would-be presidential contender stormed the headquarters.

Troops from the Interior Ministry forced them out about an hour later, using tear gas to disperse the crowd in the biggest unrest since opposition protesters seized the government building on March 24 and ousted longtime President Askar Akayev, who fled to Russia.

The crowd was protesting election officials' refusal to register Urmat Baryktabasov to run in Kyrgyzstan's July 10 presidential vote. Officials have said he is ineligible because he was a citizen of neighboring Kazakhstan. Acting President Kurmanbek Bakiyev is expected to win the election.

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