While political protests and arrests continue their cycle in Kyrgyzstan, some observers have noted a current of ethnic tension in recent incidents. The county's south, where most protests have centered, is now witnessing violent skirmishes among ethnic Uzbeks, Tajiks and Kyrgyz.
Upheaval increased on November 17 and 18 as police banished hundreds of citizens who were trying to organize a dissidents' conference in Bishkek. Two hundred of these arrived in the south by bus on November 17. Police had reportedly left 129 of them overnight in the frigid Suusamyr Valley, according to activist Ramazan Dyryldaev. Dissidents have confronted authorities repeatedly since March, when at least five citizens died in clashes with police in Ak-Sui while protesting the imprisonment of parliamentarian Azimbek Beknazarov. [For background, see the Eurasia Insight archive].
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Alisher Khamidov is currently a Muskie Fellow graduate student at the Joan B. Kroc Institute of Peace Studies at Notre Dame University.