Opposition protesters in Kyrgyzstan have blocked the strategic highway between the capital Bishkek and the southern city of Osh in protest at the arrest of several deputies from the Ata Zhurt (Homeland) party on suspicion of a coup attempt on Wednesday, 24.kg website reports.
"The authorities are currently trying to reason with the demonstrators, but so far without result," said Jalalabad Region leader Nurbolot Mirzakhmedov. "The protesters want the deputies' immediate release," he said. "We've talked to Bishkek, they are aware of what's going on."
At least 2,000 cars are currently stuck in lines on the highway as a result of the blockade. Earlier on Thursday, the demonstrators on the road held a protest demanding the release of four deputies including Ata Zhurt leader Kamchibek Tashiev, Ata Zhurt parliamentary faction head Sadyr Zhaparova, and vice-speaker of parliament Talant Mamytov. All three took part in protest rallies in Bishkek on October 3 which turned violent.
The demonstrators had demanded the nationalization of the Kumtor goldfield, and then tried to storm parliament, throwing rocks at police guards. Riot police broke up the demonstration, in which 12 were injured.
Kyrgyzstan's prosecutor general is studying claims that the three deputies urged the rioters to storm parliament and the presidential administration building.