26 April 2006

If You Attend the Demonstration, You'll Be Kicked Out of the University

The opposition has been planning some major nationwide demonstrations on April 29th for the last several weeks. Bakiev has been clamping down in an effort to squelch the entire thing. Government employees aren't allowed to attend, not surprisingly.

Today students at more than one university were told that if they attend the demonstration, they will be kicked out of their university. Instead universities are planning activities for Saturday, like assigning students to clean the buildings and grounds so they can't go to the demonstration.

Only a handful of people went to the demonstration in Osh today and they had been hoping for many more. Sounds like the government's tactics worked there. And I imagine they will work in Bishkek.

You'd expect something like this in China, or Uzbekistan, or the old Soviet Union, or any number of other countries, but Kyrgyzstan had seemed to have a goal of doing better, of being somewhat more open to dissent. Did anything really change after March 24th? Is it even worse?

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