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Kyrgyz President Rules Out Use of Force Against Protesters


Kyrgyzstan's President Askar Akayev has ruled out imposing a state of emergency to curb mass protests sparked by recent parliamentary elections that opposition groups say were fraudulent.

Addressing a meeting of newly elected lawmakers Tuesday, Mr. Akayev said opposition groups were, in his words, deliberately stoking tensions in the country.

Earlier, his spokesman rejected vote-rigging allegations and accused "criminals" of organizing the mounting demonstrations.

Kyrgyzstan's top election official also described the balloting as "democratic and legitimate."

Monday, 2,000 opposition protesters took control of government headquarters in the country's second-largest city, Osh.

Many of them were calling for President Akayez's resignation, despite his pledge to investigate charges of electoral fraud and his offer to hold talks with the opposition.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.

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