Kyrgyz Opposition Cancels Election-Related Protest
July 30, 2009
BISHKEK -- Leaders of Kyrgyzstan's political opposition have cited concerns for the safety of their supporters in canceling a planned protest march nearly a week after a disputed presidential election, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.
Presidential contender Almazbek Atambaev made the announcement shortly before the scheduled time for a rally that he and other opposition leaders called in the wake of the vote, which Atambaev claims to have won.
It appeared to be a response to a ban on mass gatherings announced earlier in the day by the Prosecutor-General's Office, which said the prohibition was necessary ahead of a July 31-August 1 meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organization.
Political opponents of President Kurmanbek Bakiev had hoped to draw thousands of sympathizers to the town of Balykchi, near Lake Issyk-Kul, where about 20 opposition supporters were reportedly detained on election day.
Officials results gave Bakiev 76 percent of the vote to Atambaev's 8 percent.
Authorities have clamped down on unsanctioned gatherings since the vote.
Dozens of people were arrested on July 29 as they marched through the capital to protest the results of the July 23 presidential election and demand the release of opposition activists detained on election day.
Copyright (c) 2009. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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