22:46 GMT +323 January 2019
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    Kyrgyz opposition supporters seek to join leader near Bishkek

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    Members of a Kyrgyz opposition rally in Bishkek headed on Thursday to the nearby city of Kant, where police stopped another group of protesters headed by opposition leader and businessman Urmat Baryktabasov.

    Members of a Kyrgyz opposition rally in Bishkek headed on Thursday to the nearby city of Kant, where police stopped another group of protesters headed by opposition leader and businessman Urmat Baryktabasov.

    Kyrgyz police refused to allow Baryktabasov to enter the capital to join the protest on the square in front of the parliament, where thousands of Baryktabasov supporters gathered on Thursday.

    For a second time on Thursday, Kyrgyz police used tear gas and stun grenades near the city of Kant, approximately 20 kilometers outside of Bishkek, against supporters of the opposition leader who were blocking a road leading to the capital.

    The crowd of protesters armed with sticks and stones gathered some 300 meters from a police checkpoint.

    Baryktabasov was put on the country's wanted list and charged with an attempt to overthrow the government after the 2005 Tulip Revolution.

    The situation in the former Soviet Central Asian republic remains strained following several months of unrest and Kyrgyz media said on Thursday that a state of emergency had been introduced in Bishkek. The government denied the report.

    Violent anti-government protests in April forced then-President Kurmanbek Bakiyev to leave the country with his immediate family and take refuge in Belarus.

    Clashes between ethnic Kyrgyz and minority Uzbeks broke out in the southern city of Jalalabad in May, killing two people and injuring more than 70.

    In mid-June, the country saw its worst interethnic clashes in two decades, with some 2,000 people believed killed. About 100,000 people fled to neighboring Uzbekistan and hundreds of houses were destroyed in the riot-hit Osh and Jalalabad regions.

    BISHKEK, August 5 (RIA Novosti)

     

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