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On Feb. 24, a public protest demonstration in the city of Uzgen in Kyrgyzstan's Osh Region attracted around 100 local supporters of the underground religious party Hizb ut-Tahrir.
On Feb. 24, a public protest demonstration in the city of Uzgen in Kyrgyzstan's Osh Region attracted around 100 local supporters of the underground religious party Hizb ut-Tahrir. On Oct. 1, 2008, members of the party had organised large-scale unrest in Nookat, a different district in the same southern region of the country.
During the demonstration held near the Ay-Churek movie theatre the protestors reportedly behaved in a very aggressive manner, and it took police four hours to convince them to return to their homes. Eight of the most active members of the demonstration were delivered an official warning from the prosecutor's office.
The demonstration was unmarred by open clashes. The demonstrators demanded the release of Tashmative, the recently arrested leader of the Hizb ut-Tahrir Uzgen regional cell, and his brother-in-arms Anarbayev. According to the country's law enforcement, the homes of the two men contained 42 brochures, 220 disks, three flash drives, assorted videocassettes and 24 copies of magazines with information on Hizb ut-Tahrir, a religious party the aim of which is to establish a state under strict Islamic Shari’a law.
Similar arrests have been made recently in other districts of the region. On Feb. 21, two activists were arrested in the regional capital of Osh after being caught with Hizb ut-Tahrir brochures. A 24-year old resident of the Aravan district, earlier sentenced for inciting religious hatred, was also found to have materials from the underground party in his home.
The upswing in arrests is a result of a law enforcement sweep operation code-named “Extremist”, which was conducted Feb. 18-21 to investigate the activities of mosques and search the homes of residents with past convictions on extremism charges. In the Talass Region alone, 99 mosques were investigated and 679 search and arrest warrants were delivered.
[CA-News.org, AKIpress.org, Msn.kg, Regnum.ru]