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Police Use Tear Gas Against Protesters in Kyrgyzstan


Riot police in Kyrgyzstan have used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse opposition protesters pushing for the president's resignation.

An estimated 7,000 opposition supporters gathered at the offices of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev Thursday in the capital, Bishkek, urging him to step down on a ninth day of anti-government protests.

Some protesters taunted police, throwing stones and plastic bottles at officers. Many fled after tear gas cannisters were fired.

Demonstrations began last week, when thousands of activists gathered in the capital's main square, Ala-Too, setting up tents and vowing to remain until the president resigns.

The protesters also are demanding constitutional reforms and new elections.

Kyrgyzstan has been in political turmoil since violent protests drove Mr. Bakiyev's predecessor, Askar Akayev, from office in 2005.

The Kyrgyz leader has accused the opposition of planning a coup. But he also has signed constitutional amendments curtailing his powers.

He recently appointed a moderate opposition leader as the new prime minister and invited the opposition to join the Cabinet. The president has said a new constitution could be ready by early 2008.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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