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Kyrgyzstan: Clashes Break Out as Returning Exiled Politician Detained

A man attending a rally in support of detained opposition politician Sadyr Japarov being dragged away by a police officer on March 25, 2017. (Photo: Danil Usmanov)

A self-exiled and wanted opposition politician returned to Kyrgyzstan on March 25 to face questioning by the security services, sparking a rowdy demonstration by his indignant supporters that degenerated into ugly scuffles with police.

The Interior Ministry said 68 people were detained following the clashes.

This episode of unrest has further ratcheted up unease in a decisive election year as authorities step up pressure against the opposition and independent media.

Sadyr Japarov, a member of the nationalist Ata-Jurt party, returned to Kyrgyzstan after spending four years in neighboring Kazakhstan, where he was evading arrest for his alleged involvement in whipping up disturbances in a regional town in 2013.

After Japarov arrived the Bishkek headquarters of State Committee for National Security, or GKNB, where he was taken after being detained at the land border with Kazakhstan, several hundred people — mostly young men — identifying as his supporters, mustered at the building. Some chanted: “Free Japarov!”

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Kyrgyzstan: Clashes Break Out as Returning Exiled Politician Detained

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