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More Opposition Protests Outside Kyrgyz Parliament


Opposition activists in Kyrgyzstan have gathered outside the parliament building to demand that lawmakers immediately take steps to push through proposed constitutional reforms limiting presidential power.

Reports from Bishkek Monday say 1,000 activists are taking part in the demonstration.

Parliament must approve three new judges to the Constitutional Court before the amendments can be passed, but lawmakers today postponed debate on the nominations until Tuesday.

The protests outside parliament began last Wednesday with opposition activists demanding the resignation of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev. They accuse the president of corruption, and they have vowed to remain in Bishkek's main square until he steps down.

Last week, President Bakiyev signed constitutional amendments curtailing his powers, and he recently appointed a moderate opposition leader as the new prime minister.

The Kyrgyz leader also invited the opposition to join the Cabinet. He said a new constitution could be ready by early 2008.

President Bakiyev has accused the opposition of planning a coup.

Kyrgyzstan has been in political turmoil since violent protests drove Mr. Bakiyev's predecessor, Askar Akayev, from office in 2005. The opposition was emboldened when former Prime Minister Felix Kulov joined the movement earlier this year.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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