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  Tuesday, January 26, 2021
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Things are still hanging on a knife's edge in the Osh and Jalal-Abad southern regions of Kyrgyzstan
According to witnesses, about a thousand people who spent the night in front of the Osh regional government building are now beginning a rally there. More people have been coming to the central square since morning. According to a source in the local police, the Osh police will report to the "people's governor" Anvar Artykov from Tuesday. Artykov was elected governor by the kurultai, a popular meeting, on March 18. The regional police chief is quoted as saying that he will "report to whoever there will be." "The only thing I am concerned about is the rule of law in the region," the police chief is reported to have said. Yesterday 6,000 to 7,000 protesters took control of the regional government buildings in Osh and of all city government institutions. Another rally blocked the city airport. The local police did nothing to prevent the protests, which is why Osh did not see such outrage as neighboring Jalal-Abad. In Jalal-Abad, protesters set on fire the local police station and threw stones at the regional police headquarters. Kyrgyz state secretary Osmonakun Ibraimov said yesterday live on state television that "the authorities have never and will never use force against the people." Meanwhile, Artykov, addressing the Osh rally, urged the people to maintain control over television stations and the airport. Faced with finding his workplace a smoldering ruin, head of the Osh broadcasting station addressed the crowd personally and promised to put the protesters on air. The demonstrators are protesting two rounds of the national parliamentary elections that took place on February 27 and March 13. President of Kyrgyzstan Askar Akayev met the head of Kyrgyzstan's Central Election Commission yesterday to order a special investigation into each major case of reported fraud. The president is expected to publicly assess the situation in the south of Kyrgyzstan in an address to the nation on Wednesday afternoon.
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