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Flash Mob Joins Election Fray

Youth groups get round restrictions on freedom of assembly by staging flash mob actions ahead of the Kyrgyz presidential election.
As Sabina Reingold reports, anyone planning to hold a demonstration is required to apply to the local authorities for permission 12 days in advance. Instead, the first in a series of gatherings at which speakers called on voters to take part in the July 23 ballot was described as a spontaneous action.

However, while the concept of a flash mob in other countries generally centres on some kind of unusual event or collective stunt, the Kyrgyz pre-election gathering was more old-fashioned in format, with speakers addressing an audience. That led some legal analysts to suggest participants could be held in breach of laws governing the right to assembly.

Kyrgyz police were less understanding when flash-mob participants argued that the event counted as “leisure”, but allowed it to continue unimpeded.

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