22:59 GMT +323 October 2018
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    PEOPLE REBUILD BRIDGE BETWEEN KYRGYZ AND UZBEK TOWNS, POLICE PERMITS TRAFFIC

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    BISHKEK/MOSCOW, May 15 (RIA Novosti) - The authorities of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan have agreed to reopen the bridge over the Shakhrikhansay river that divides a former Soviet town into Kyrgyz and Uzbek parts.

    The bridge dismantled two years ago by the Uzbek government and rebuilt yesterday by protesters was opened officially as a border checkpoint. Police chief of Kara-Suu Kursan Asanov told RIA Novosti over the phone that the head of local government "gave green light to traffic across the bridge."

    RIA Novosti had been told reopening of the bridge was a key demand of local Uzbek protesters. Uzbeks account for about half the population of Kyrgyz Osh Region that borders on Uzbekistan.

    Police chief Asanov also told a telephone conversation with his opposite number in the neighboring Uzbek district of Kara-Tyube had been successful, and the Uzbek police welcomed the move. According to Asanov, identification checks at the bridge are as meticulous as elsewhere. He described the situation in the Kyrgyz town as "absolutely calm."

    Yesterday, Russian state-controlled television network Rossiya showed footage of a Saturday morning rally in Karasu, the Uzbek part of the once united town, which evolved into a joint Uzbek-Kyrgyz effort to rebuild the dismantled bridge. A bridging machine laid several steel bars across the river, whereupon the crowd quickly covered the metal skeleton with boards.

    Uzbek Karasu and Kyrgyz Kara-Suu, several dozen miles from the protest-shaken Uzbek city of Andizhan, one day were the Soviet town of Ilyichevsk.

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