Kyrgyz Protesters Block Road to Centerra Gold Mine
Sunday 10 June 2012
BISHKEK (24.kg News Agency) – Kyrgyz villagers demanding land and jobs blocked the only road to Centerra Gold’s Kumtor mine on Thursday, the latest in a series of disruptions that could jeopardise gold production of the Central Asian state.
More than 100 members of a national youth movement stopped miners and fuel supplies from entering the gorge that runs to the mine, which contributed nearly 12% of Kyrgyzstan’s gross domestic product last year, witnesses and officials said.
According the Kumtor Operating Company (KOC) press secretary Sergei Dedukhin, the company had received an invitation to peaceful meeting in Barskoon village at 10:00 AM. “Youth movement Zhashtar Keneshi are the meeting initiators. We sent our representative there and we don’t receive any official claims. Also we don’t have any information about the road blockade,” he said.
As co-chairman of people’s movement New Forces of Kyrgyzstan Kubat Toksobaev mentioned that Zhashtar Keneshi is not involved into the meeting. “On the eve young activists from Saruu village said to us that they are going to block the road to Kumtor mine. Currently, they were supported by youth of Tamga and Barskoon villages. The road is blocked. 600 people gathered there,” said member of Kyrgyzstan New Powers.
Kubat Toksobaev added that the protesters announced their demands to KOC. “They demanding to give Kyrgyzstan 70% of KOC incomes and made a complete revision of the company financial activity and initiate ecological expertise,” he said.
“We found out that special forces are moving to the road,” concluded the activist.