The OSCE's plan to deploy a small international police force to southern Kyrgyzstan has not been universally well received in Kyrgyzstan. The country's defense minister, who stepped down today in preparation for running for parliament, took the occasion to criticize the plan: “We have different mentality, laws and military training. Besides, we have definite agreements within SCTO and SCO,” he said.
And there may or may not have been a protest in Osh against the OSCE deployment. RFE/RL reports that "several dozen" protesters took to the streets "demanding that the government revise its approval for an international police force for Kyrgyzstan." But Interfax (not online), which also said it had a correspondent at the scene, said the crowd was "up to 1,000" and that they protested both against the OSCE plan and Bishkek's response to the violence there:
Participants in the rally are demanding that the Kyrgyz ombudsman, Tursunbek Akun, apologize because the protesters were not pleased with Tursunbek Akun's assessment of the inter-ethnic clashes that took place in the Kyrgyz south in June. They are demanding that rights activists, who are investigating these events on their own, stop doing so. They are also demanding that certain leaders of the Uzbek diaspora and the heads of the two local Uzbek language TV companies, Osh TV and Mezon TV, be brought to account.
But the local government in Osh said that the protest was small, and not about the OSCE at all:
According to them today 50 aggressive women made an attempt to organize wildcat protest action on the territory of the yurt city created by relatives of missing people. They blamed local authorities in inactivity in searching of missing people who disappeared during bloodshed in the southern capital in the middle of June.
”There were no actions against brining of OSCE policemen. This is provocation,” they said in Osh Kommandatura.
These are very few data points to work with, but it smells a bit like some people want to gin up the idea of opposition to the OSCE deployment, and some want to minimize the idea of such opposition, probably in both cases for ulterior motives. Anyway, this will be interesting to continue to follow.