* Three parliamentarians arrested after clashes
* Protesters calling for Canadian mine to be nationalised
* More unrest in south of volatile ex-Soviet republic
(Adds Russian comment)
By Olga Dzyubenko
BISHKEK, Oct 4 Kyrgyz police on Thursday
arrested three members of parliament who had led a crowd that
tried to storm government headquarters in a protest over a
Canadian-owned gold mine.
Wednesday's clashes between police and supporters of the
opposition Ata Zhurt party in the former Soviet republic were
the most violent in the capital Bishkek since the April 2010
revolt that ousted then-president Kurmanbek Bakiyev.
The protesters want the mine, crucial to Kyrgyzstan's
fragile economy, to be nationalised.
The three parliamentarians - Kamchibek Tashiyev, Sadyr
Zhaparov and Talant Mamytov - are being held on suspicion of
trying to seize power. Prosecutors have 48 hours to decide
whether to charge them.
On Thursday about 1,000 supporters rallied in the main
square of the southern city of Jalalabad, their power base, to
demand their release. There was no violence.
"Parliament, the president, the government should resign,
because they are not resolving the Kumtor issue!" one
demonstrator shouted through a megaphone.
The attempted storming of Kyrgyzstan's "White House"
rekindled north-south tension in the Central Asian country of
5.5 million people, which borders China and has U.S. and Russian
military air bases.
Two presidents of Kyrgyzstan have been toppled since 2005
after attacks on the same government building. Though Bishkek
was quiet on Thursday, authorities were alert for protests
spreading in the country's poorer, more nationalist south.
Russia voiced concern about the unrest in Kyrgyzstan, its
partner in a regional security alliance, saying grievances
should not be resolved by force. It said unspecified measures
had been taken to ensure the security of its diplomats.
"Proceeding from our interest in the preservation of
political stability in this friendly country, we consider it
important for all issues ... to be resolved within the law,"
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said.
Wednesday's protest began as a peaceful rally in favour of
nationalising the Kumtor mine, owned by Canada's Centerra Gold
. The Kyrgyz state itself is a 33 percent shareholder in
Centerra under a Bakiyev-era contract drawn up in 2009.
Calls to nationalise Kumtor, the largest gold mine operated
in Central Asia by a Western-based concern, risk scaring off
potential investors needed to revive a shrinking economy.
Prime Minister Zhantoro Satybaldiyev, appointed last month,
needs foreign cash to make good on pledges to alleviate poverty
and achieve economic growth. Per capita GDP in Kyrgyzstan is
less than a tenth of that in its oil-rich neighbour Kazakhstan.
Satybaldiyev visited the Kumtor mine on Monday and gave
assurances the venture would not be nationalised.
CALLS FOR MORE PROTESTS
Tashiyev, who won 14 percent of the vote and finished third
in an October 2011 presidential election, had urged the crowd to
follow him during the clashes with riot police on Wednesday.
Ata Zhurt party spokesman Nurgazy Anarkulov said he believed
the detentions were politically motivated and called for mass
protests in the south.
"They are true patriots fighting for the interests of the
people and for Kyrgyzstan's future," he told a news conference
in Bishkek. "We believe the arrest of our leaders is political
Turdimamat Mamytov, father of one of the three arrested men,
demanded the release of his son and criticised President
Almazbek Atambayev, who has deepened already close ties with
Russia since assuming the presidency in December.
"Such a president should not be in power," Mamytov said.
(Writing by Dmitry Solovyov and Robin Paxton; Editing by Mark