Kyrgyz opposition stormed the building of the nation’s government in its capital, Bishkek today, April 7. The crowd broke through police cordons and seized several UN vehicles.
The authorities of Kyrgyzstan earlier tried to prohibit any public actions of the opposition in the country. Protesters packed the central square of Bishkek, but the police used tear gas and flashbangs against the demonstrators.
Kyr gyz Prime Minister Daniyar Usenov called the actions of the opposition as a crime against the state. He said that he had met several opposition activists but they did not set forth any requirements and only asked for the release of their arrested followers.
105 people, including 85 police officers, were injured in Talas as a result of fierce clashes with the police. Over 100 were injured and at least 17 were killed in Bishkek. The government arrested many opposition leaders.
Major political unrest started in Kyrgyzstan last month, with opposition forces accusing the government of tightening its grip on power while failing to bring stability and economic growth.
The situation escalated on Tuesday, when several opposition leaders were arrested after police and activists clashed in the western city of Talas, and the unrest spread on Wednesday to the central town of Naryn and Tokmak, 50 kilometers east of Bishkek, RIA Novosti reports.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged the government and the opposition of Kyrgyzstan to stop violence and start a dialogue. The US embassy in Kyrgyzstan also expressed deep concerns about the latest events.
Russia ’s deputy foreign minister Grigory Karasin stated that all problems – political, economic and social – must be solved within the framework of democratic standards.
The sitting President of Kyrgyzstan Kurmanbek Bakiev came to power in the former Soviet nation in March 2005 as a result of a color revolution. The opposition was not satisfied with the results of the parliamentary elections and seized governmental buildings in the capital, Bishkek. The previous president, Askar Akaev, stepped down as a result of the coup.
Andrey Grozin, a senior expert with the Institute for the Commonwealth of Independent States, said in an interview with Pravda.Ru that massive protests in Kyrgyzstan are based on historic rivalries between the north and the south.
“ The challenge still exists . The revolution of 2005 was virtually a clash between the two large clans – the followers of Bakiev and Akaev. People’s patience was exhausted after the government decided to raise the prices on housing and public utilities. It was a tenfold increase . The government explained such a radical measure with a need to attract more funds in the nation’s economy. The people think that the authorities simply want to make the population pay for all the difficulties. The administration of the republic made a number of serious mistakes, and the nation’s economy was seriously shattered in the time of the economic crisis.
“Kyrgyzstan is the only of the five Asian nations of the former USSR the development of which is very hard to predict. Even if the government jails outstanding opposition activists, it does not mean that all the problems will be solved,” the specialist said.
20.30 (Moscow time)
The Kyrgyz opposition formed a government of national confidence led by former foreign minister Roza Otunbayeva and demanded a transfer of power from the official cabinet as the death count in the country’s protests rose to 40.
Protests, which started in the northwestern Kyrgyz town of Talas on Tuesday, spread to other regions of the Central Asian country, including the capital Bishkek. Close to 400 people were injured, according to health authorities. Opposition leader Omurbek Tekebayev claimed the death toll was some three times as high as the official figure of 40.
Ousted Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev has left Kazakhstan, the Kazakh Foreign Ministry said on Monday, without revealing his destination.
“According to my information, Bakiyev has left Kazakhstan. I do not know anything about his current whereabouts,” Askar Abdrakhmanov, a ministry spokesman, said.
Bakiyev fled Bishkek on April 7 amid violent protests in the Kyrgyz capital that killed more than 80 people and saw the opposition take power. He flew to Kazakhstan on last Thursday and reportedly resigned on Friday.
Abdrakhmanov said that “perhaps” Bakiyev left Kazakhstan with his family, but did not disclose the time of his departure.
Meanwhile, Bakiyev’s yonger brother Kanybek, said Kurmanbek is unlikely to return to Kyrgyzstan in the next couple of days.
“Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev will not arrive in the country neither today, nor tomorrow. I cannot comment on when it will happen,” Kanybek Bakiyev said.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Sunday his country was ready to provide refuge to Bakiyev and his family and provide whatever help they need.
The interim government in Kyrgyzstan says it wants to set up an international investigation into alleged crimes committed by Bakiyev. Charges have already been filed against some of his relatives.
Although Bakiyev fled Bishkek two weeks ago, a wave of new violence engulfed the suburbs of the country’s capital again on Monday, when some 2,000 people armed with sticks, stones and torches set several cars on fire and threw rocks at houses in nearby villages.
They tried to seize some 700 hectares of land outside Bishkek, saying it was their land for construction of their houses, but the landowners drove them out of the area. The rioters then moved toward the capital, but were stopped by police. After negotiations with the head of the municipal administration they decided not to enter the city.
In other developments, an informal “people’s” militia has called on its members to unite and protect residents of the capital, warning that fresh violence could break out as night falls.
“According to our information, a considerable number of people have gathered outside the city, mainly squatters arriving to the capital from remote regions. This is fraught with unpredictable consequences,” Daniyar Terbishaliyev, the head of the Patriot militia, said.
The Patriot militia currently numbers 800 people.
The Kyrgyz authorities will use all available resources to stabilize the situation in the south of the ex-Soviet Central Asian republic, where the death toll from riots has reached 12, the leader of the country’s interim government said on Friday.
Riots broke out in the city of Osh on Thursday night, reportedly after a fight between locals and members of the city’s Uzbek population. Groups of youths rampaged through the city, setting fire to cars and buildings and breaking shop windows. Unrest spread across the city and its surrounding region.
“The interim government will use all available resources and is confident that the security of civilians will be ensured,” Roza Otunbayeva said in a statement.
She said security services in the city, its surrounding areas and across the whole of Kyrgyzstan had been ordered to prevent any further destabilization of the situation and various members of the interim government, including the defense minister had already arrived in Osh.
The country’s health ministry said the death toll had risen to 12.
“Currently, 126 people have been referred to hospitals in Osh with injuries. 94 people have been hospitalized, 10 are in a serious condition, 12 people have died,” spokeswoman Elena Vaylinova said, adding that the largest number of wounded was in the Osh region village of Kizil-Kishlak.
Otunbayeva said tensions between the ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbek populations in the south of Kyrgyzstan had been rising for several weeks.
“To our great regret, the parties were unable to refrain from violence…10 cars have been burned, several commercial establishments in the center of Osh have been destroyed, a number of administrative and other buildings have been set ablaze,” she said.
The interim leader called on the people of Kyrgyzstan not to allow the situation to escalate.
“I ask you not to succumb to provocations, to remain calm and refrain from rash steps that could lead to new casualties. Today our multinational nation again found itself in a situation that requires from all of us extraordinary self-restraint, wisdom and the ability to peacefully settle conflicts through negotiation and reconciliation,” she said.
Uprisings have become commonplace in Kyrgyzstan since the overthrow of the republic’s government in early April. A series of uprisings broke out across the republic between opposition protesters and security forces, causing the deaths of more than 80 people and injuring around 1,500. An interim government was formed and deposed President Kurmanbek Bakiyev was forced to flee the country and take a refuge in Belarus.
Riots that erupted overnight in the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh have been brought under police control, a spokesman for the Kyrgyz Interior Ministry said on Friday.
“The situation has been brought under control by the law enforcement forces; the shoot outs in Osh have ended,” the spokesman said.
Riots broke out in Osh on Thursday night, reportedly after a fight between locals and members of the city’s Uzbek population. Groups of youths rampaged through the city, setting fire to cars and buildings and breaking shop windows. Unrest spread across the city and its surrounding region.
Kyrgyzstan’s interim government has imposed a state of emergency in Osh and its surrounding regions until June 20.
More than 1,000 servicemen and police have been deployed to patrol the area and blocks have been set up on the road that leads to the city. An investigation into the unrest is ongoing, the spokesman said.
The country’s health ministry has reported that the death toll from the riots has reached 14. Some 200 people, most of them suffering gunshot wounds, have sought medical assistance at local hospitals.
Kremlin spokeswoman Natalia Timakova told reporters Saturday Russia saw no conditions for getting involved in Kyrgyzstan’s internal conflict.
“This is an internal conflict, and Russia does not see the conditions for participation in its settlement,” she said.
However, Russia would provide humanitarian support to the southern part of the Central Asian state with a plane from the Emergency Situations Ministry following a presidential order, the spokeswoman said.
“Consultations are now underway with various agencies with a view to providing aid to Kyrgyzstan. In a telephone conversation with Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu and Minister of Health and Social Development Tatyana Golikova, the president (Dmitry Medvedev)gave orders to provide humanitarian support to the country. The Emergencies Ministry’s plane will fly to the republic to this end,” Timakova said.
Medvedev also ordered the evacuation of the injured and provision of medical treatment.
Meanwhile, member states of the post-Soviet security bloc, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), would hold consultations Monday over the situation in Kyrgyzstan, she said.
“As chairman of the CSTO Council, Medvedev has ordered consultations to be held among the secretaries of the Security Councils of the CSTO member states on Monday in order to work out a collective response,” Timakova said.
Earlier, the Kyrgyz interim government announced a state of emergency and curfew in the southern city of Jalalabad, in addition to the second largest city of Osh.
Kyrgyz interim leader Roza Otunbayeva has sent a letter to Medvedev, appealing for help to quell the violence, which erupted on Thursday due to inter-ethnic clashes. The death toll has risen to 63 with another 838 injured.
A senior Russian military official told media Saturday that Russian troops stationed at the Kyrgyz Kant military base would not be deployed to Osh.