BISHKEK. Kyrgyz opposition parties and NGOs will organize the Third Gathering (Kurultai) of Kyrgyzstan People in Bishkek on January 26, 2003. The head of the
public headquarters for the Referendum, and leader of the 'Atameken' (Motherland) Socialist Party, Omurbek Tekebayev said today that invitations have been sent to delegates from each region. The Gathering will address problems of the forthcoming referendum set for February 2, 2003. Also the controversial court verdict against the Jalalabad officials accused for their alleged involvement in the Aksy shootings in March 17-18, 2002, will be discussed.
Kyrgyz authorities did not allow the organizers of the Third Gathering to hold it on November 16, 2002, dispersing the crowd by force, detaining more than 100 delegates and sending most of them to their residencies with a police escort.
Human rights organizations have been criticizing these events as an obstacle to freedom of speech and free gathering.