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Kyrgyz parties clash ahead of vote

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan, Oct. 6 (UPI) -- Bishkek police responded to a Wednesday assault on the headquarters of a leading political party days before key elections, authorities said.

Bishkek police officials told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty that members of the Martyrs of the Homeland and Generous Ala-Too Mountains political movements stormed the office of the Fatherland Part in the nation's capital.

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Opposition supporters earlier in the day staged a rally in the capital calling for the return of deposed President Kurmanbek Bakiyev.

Bakiyev was ousted in an April coup led by supporters of Roza Otunbayeva, who was declared the president of Kyrgyzstan in July for a transition period lasting until the end of 2011.

Kyrgyzstan is scheduled to vote during the weekend on whether to transform the government into a parliamentary system. Otunbayeva had threatened to cancel the vote if ethnic violence between members of the Uzbek and Kyrgyz communities flared up in the south of the country.

The interim government in Kyrgyzstan accuses Bakiyev of stoking ethnic tensions in the south of Kyrgyzstan, his former stronghold.

Hundreds of people were killed and thousands were displaced in conflicts between the Uzbek and Kyrgyz communities following an April coup.

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