00:36 GMT +318 February 2019
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    Protest in Kyrgyz capital swells, business fears increase

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    BISHKEK, March 31 (RIA Novosti) - A crowd outside the government building in the capital of Kyrgyzstan demanding the resignation of the country's prime minister, Felix Kulov, has tripled to 1,500, prompting some shop owners to close their businesses amid concerns of violence.

    The demonstrators, who started to gather early Friday to protest a decision to bar Ryspek Akmatbayev from running for parliament in an April 9 by-election, are also demanding a meeting with President Kurmanbek Bakiyev and the resignation of the country's interior minister and head of the central election committee.

    Akmatbayev's registration was revoked on the grounds that he had concealed a previous conviction and violated residence qualifications. Akmatbayev was seeking to become a legislator following the killing of his brother, Tynychbek Akmatbayev, chairman of the parliament's law and order committee, during a prison riot when he was inspecting a penal colony last October.

    Businessmen and major shopping centers are closing offices and evacuating goods in fear of a repetition of violent events in March 2005, the "tulip revolution," which ousted former President Askar Akayev and brought the incumbent authorities to power.

    The Kyrgyz government said they had conducted no negotiations with the protesters and local police said they were ready to prevent any disorder in the city.