BISHKEK. Several non-government organizations today organized a gathering in protest of possible war against Iraq at the Gorkiy square in the Kyrgyz capital.
Among the organizers were the Association of Non-Commercial and Non-
Government Organizations (ANNO), "Committee For Soldiers' Mothers", the "Victor" Foundation and 'Zenggibaba'.
The demonstration, entitled "Without War. For Peace", drew more than 400 people. The protesters demanded resolution of all the issues related to Iraq only by peaceful means. Words on their signs said: "Don't Push Us Towards the War", "Today - In Iraq, Tomorrow - In Central Asia", and "This is Violence To Democratize Iraq Through War", etc. The leader of the ANNO, Toktaim Umetalieva, told the meeting that Kyrgyz land should not be used as a base for any war.
Edil Baisalov, the president of the Coalition for Democracy and Civil Society (Kyrgyzstan), told RFE/RL today that he participated in the meeting as an observer and he wants to urge people to distinguish wars against humanity from wars against fascism and dictatorship. As he put it, the USA and its allies are thinking of democracy and human rights in Iraq.
The Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry recently distributed a statement backing the stance of France, Germany and Russia on the peaceful resolution of the Iraqi crisis.