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Recriminations Fly After Election Protests

Rita Borbukeeva reports from the town of Balykchi, where opposition members are angry at the continuing detention of protesters over the conduct of the presidential election.
By Rita Borbukeeva

On election day, July 23, opposition supporters in this town on Lake Issykkul clashed with police during a demonstration outside the mayor’s office. Similar protests took part in other parts of the country.

Twenty participants, including two members of parliament, were arrested and accused with “attempting to seize power”, an allegation they denied. The two deputies were released the same day, and five others on July 23.

A number of participants were injured – some of them seriously, according to a lawyer acting for the protestors.

The town police chief Kanibek Degenbaev denied this, saying, “I haven’t a single detainee who suffered badly during the rally.”

He added that some of his police officers were hurt, too.

On the 13 still being held in police cells, Degenbaev said, “There aren’t any political prisoners.”

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