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Kyrgyz opposition blocks road, demands resignations, TV access

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Kyrgyzstan's opposition Wednesday added roadblocks and demands for access to national television to its already customary rallies and calls for official resignations and constitutional reform.
BISHKEK, April 18 (RIA Novosti) - Kyrgyzstan's opposition Wednesday added roadblocks and demands for access to national television to its already customary rallies and calls for official resignations and constitutional reform.

In the morning, the United Front of Kyrgyzstan, a major opposition movement, claimed that it had blocked a major highway connecting the capital Bishkek with Lake Issyk-Kul, and called on President Kurmanbek Bakiyev and the governor of the Issyk-Kul Region to resign.

With the arrival of additional supporters from the provinces, an estimated 3,000 protesters then moved peacefully downtown in a column led by heads of the country's most prominent NGOs and chanting anti-presidential slogans.

The rally continued near the national television headquarters with calls for fair media coverage of the street action as police stood by.

Since April 9, the opposition has been demanding the adoption of a new Constitution curbing presidential powers and accusing pro-Bakiyev MPs of foot-dragging.

Pressured by the new prime minister, Almaz Atambayev, who helped draft the new Constitution, Bakiyev signed it April 10 and handed it over to the legislature. However, lawmakers have resisted debate, citing street pressure.

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