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Dozens arrested in Kyrgyz gold mine protest

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan, Oct. 8 (UPI) -- Kyrgyz law enforcement officials confirmed Tuesday more than 20 people were arrested during a protest at a gold mine owned by Canada's Centerra Gold.

A spokesman from the Interior Ministry of the former Soviet republic told Russian state news agency RIA Novosti there were 23 people detained during a rally at the gold mine.

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President Almazbek Atambayev in May declared a state of emergency in the Jety-Oguz district hosting the mine after thousands of demonstrators clashed with police. At least one demonstrator died and 30 other people were injured in the melee.

Operator Centerra Gold, headquartered in Canada, said at the time protesters disrupted the power supply to the Kumtor mine.

Protesters are demanding the nationalization of the mine, one of the country's largest sources of revenue.

Five police officers were injured in skirmishes Monday. The provincial governor was taken hostage briefly by protesters, RIA Novosti said.

There was no comment from Centerra Gold. The company and the Kyrgyz government last month reached a deal to form a joint venture.

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