Authorities in Kyrgyzstan have detained more than 20 politicians and civil servants accused of organising riots over a border demarcation deal with the neighbouring Central Asian country Uzbekistan, a rights group said Monday. The Kylym Chamy rights group said that 22 people had been detained across the politically volatile ex-Soviet country and were accused of planning a coup attempt and violent protests. The people detained are part of a group that is critical of a draft government deal with Uzbekistan that critics say could see Bishkek hand over control of a key dam to Uzbekistan. Water is an increasingly scarce resource in Central Asia and the Kempir-Abad dam was constructed when both countries were part of the Soviet Union. Disputes over borders and resources still routinely flare three decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union and violence regularly erupts on Kyrgyzstan’s border with neighbouring Tajikistan. The Kylym Chamy rights group said that the people detained across several towns and cities include a military general, a former member of the constitutional court, a former public prosecutor, journalists and activists. According to the group, the arrested individuals could face from five to 50 years in prison. Protests broke out earlier Monday in the capital of Bishkek, where some 300 people marched chanting “The reservoir is ours” and “Freedom for the opposition”, according to an AFP journalist on the scene. Meanwhile, a counter rally was held in the town of Jalalabad near the reservoir. The interior ministry confirmed to AFP that the former speaker of the parliament was detained and would be held for one month “in a temporary detention centre”. Some of those detained shared video footage as police carried them away. The detained people belong to a group seeking the “protection” of Kempir-Abad, a water reservoir on the border with Uzbekistan. The group was created after Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan signed an agreement for delimitation and demarcation of their borders in September.