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10,000 people rally in turbulent Kyrgyz city

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March 1, 2012, 12:25 p.m. | Russia and former Soviet Union — by Associated Press

During a training session, Kyrgyzstan's Prison Service Special Force officer aims his pistol as others protect a zone during training in Petrovka village 45 km (27.96 mile) east of Bishkek, Kyrgyz capital on Friday, Feb. 10, 2012.
© AP

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan (AP) — Police in Kyrgyzstan say up to 10,000 people have rallied in the southern city of Osh to demand that the nation's presidents be given more power. Ata-Zhurt nationalist party leader Kamchibek Tashiyev told Thursday's rally that the current leadership is unable to solve the impoverished former Soviet nation's political and social ills.

Kyrgyzstan's constitution shifted more powers to parliament at the presidency's expense following the 2010 overthrow of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, a native of the south.

Osh was the epicenter of the 2010 deadly ethnic clashes during which about 400 people were killed, mostly from the Uzbek minority, and Thursday's massive rally raised concerns about renewed tensions there.

The U.S. has a military air base in Kyrgyzstan that serves as a crucial transportation hub for operations in nearby Afghanistan.
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