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AFP
March 6, 2020

Volatile Kyrgyzstan temporarily bans protests

World

AFP
March 6, 2020

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan: A court in Kyrgyzstan on Thursday banned mass rallies in the centre of the capital until July as the volatile country´s protest season gets under way.

A court in the capital Bishkek ruled to accept a request by the city administration for the restriction, which cited rally organisers´ failure to keep order and the threat of the coronavirus as reasons for a ban.

The move that will see rallies prohibited in the city centre until July 1 came after around a hundred people were detained this week over a rally to free an opposition politician. The rally spun out of control as protesters began marching towards the country´s main seat of government, triggering clashes with police who used water cannon and stun grenades to restore control.

Kyrgyzstan is expected to hold toughly-contested parliamentary elections in the autumn. "As practice shows, the leaders and organisers of such large gatherings do not control the process," the city administration said in its request to the court.

"As a result there are mass disturbances and obstruction to traffic." Kyrgyzstan has so far had no confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus that has killed 3,300 people and infected more than 90,000, but the city administration said the global spread of the disease made "the conduct of activities involving a large number of people" undesirable.