Kyrgyzstan's new interior minister says he might use force to restore order to several southern towns where anti-government protesters have taken control.

The interior minister says the law allows security personnel to use physical force and weapons if needed. 

Earlier Wednesday, riot police broke up a rally in the capital Bishkek and detained several protesters.  The demonstration is the latest in weeks of protests by opposition supporters who say recent parliamentary elections were rigged.  The protesters have seized control of two southern Kyrgyz towns.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov criticized European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana for voicing concern that the Kyrgyz elections might have fallen short of international standards.  Mr. Lavrov said the opposition could use those comments to fuel tensions.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.