Anti-government demonstrators are set to gather in Bishkek on Sunday, November 22, to denounce proposed constitutional amendments. Participants will reportedly gather at 12:00 (local time) at Bishkek railway station and then march along Erkindik Boulevard to Ala-Too Square. The rally will likely remain peaceful, but authorities may forcefully disperse those gathered.
A heightened security presence and associated disruptions should be anticipated in the vicinity of the rally. Clashes between security forces and protesters cannot be ruled out.
The constitutional amendments would reportedly expand the president's powers, reducing the size and roles of the legislature and providing the state with new abilities to impose arbitrary censorship.
The amendments follow the country's recent parliamentary election. Multiple opposition groups have publicly contested the results of the country's parliamentary election on October 4, with only four of 16 registered parties having passed the seven percent vote-share threshold in order to gain seats in the legislature. Three of the four parties that were elected to the new parliament had close ties to President Sooronbai Jeenbekov, and opposition groups have accused the government of vote-buying and intimidation during the election campaign, allegations which international monitors have stated are credible.
On October 14, Jeenbekov accepted parliament's choice of Sadyr Japarov as prime minister. Japarov, a nationalist whose supporters freed him from prison amid unrest last month, had been demanding that Jeenbekov leave office.
Those in Bishkek are advised to monitor developments, avoid all protests as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.
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