Former Mongolia leader detained, triggering protests

The former president of Mongolia -- one of the country's best-known politicians -- was detained Friday on corruption charges, authorities said, sparking clashes between police and supporters.
Nambaryn Enkhbayar has been charged with several misdemeanours, including mis-using television equipment donated to a monastery to set up a television channelMongolia's anti-corruption agency said at a news briefing.
The raid on his house early Friday morning was televised, as Enkhbayar was able to call journalists and TV crews to his home when it took place.
Dramatic video footage posted on media websites Friday showed hundreds of policemen forcing their way into his house and clashing violently with his supporters.
The former president told TV9 -- a 24-hour television channel that was present at the time -- that he refused to give any form of testimony. He also claims that police are violating his immunity.
Enkhbayar's arrest has prompted strong support among members of his political party -- the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) -- and the local population, some of whom protested Friday outside his detention centre.
Supporters claim that he may be being punished for information he has about deadly riots that took place in 2008, when he was still president of the impoverished country.
His lawyer announced Friday that Enkhbayar -- who served as prime minister and then president of Mongolia for almost a decade until losing office in 2009 -- was launching a hunger strike.
Mongolia is one of the poorest nations in Asia, but it is becoming more and more attractive to foreign investors with its rich deposits of copper, gold, uranium, silver and even oil.

Source:AFP News Agency
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