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MPs charged after Kyrgyz violence

Prosecutors in Kyrgyzstan have charged three MPs with attempting to violently overthrow the government and inciting crowds to take over buildings housing government offices and parliament.

A rally of more than 1,000 people in the capital Bishkek, ostensibly held to demand the nationalisation of a gold mine, ended with clashes with police as the politicians demanded the resignation of the prime minister and other senior officials.

Thousands of supporters of one of the detained MPs, nationalist Ata-Zhurt party leader Kamchibek Tashiyev, gathered in the southern town of Jalal-Abad in protest at his detention. Mr Tashiyev, Sadyr Zhaparov and Talant Mamytov stand accused of inciting the crowd to attack government offices during yesterday's rally.

Authorities in the Central Asian nation described the mass assault as an attempt to overthrow the government.

Police officers protecting government offices known as the White House used dogs and smoke bombs to disperse a group of young men who attempted to scale the gates.

The health ministry said 10 people were being treated for injuries, three with gunshot wounds. Officials said no police were injured.

Kyrgyzstan, a country of five million people on China's mountainous western border, has come to prominence in recent years because it hosts a US air base used to support military operations in nearby Afghanistan.

Kyrgyzstan is governed by a parliamentary coalition presided over by prime minister Zhantoro Satybaldiyev.

Mr Zhaparov and Mr Tashiyev are members of a virulently nationalist opposition party, Ata-Zhurt, which draws the bulk of its support from the south of the country, which was the scene of deadly ethnic clashes in June 2010.

Ata-Zhurt is the largest party in the turbulent ex-Soviet republic's parliament, although it is not in the governing coalition.


From Belfast Telegraph