Southerners want to separate from Bishkek
The collision between the Kyrgyzstan authorities and the opposition is becoming stronger and more dangerous. Harsh repressions of the population in the republic’s south, who demand that people guilty of the shooting demonstrators in the Aksy district in March must be punished, gave rise to separatists feelings in the republic. The people even voice demands to separate the republic’s southern regions from the rest of the republic, or to set up an autonomous republic.
The demand was voiced at one of the meetings in the Uzgen region. The meeting was organized by supporters of Usen Sadykov, the candidate who had been removed from participation in the parliamentary elections; the people voted for the suggestion that if the people’s constitutional rights are further violated, they will insist upon separation from Kyrgyzstan and the creation of an independent state on the territory of the Uzgen region.
Suggestions of this kind had been voiced some time ago. Some opposition leaders announced the idea of separation at meetings even right after the tragic events in Kerben. However, at that moment, the announcements were treated as personal opinions of extremist politicians. This time, the decision for separation was made in the presence of parliamentary deputies and the head of the Uzgen region. All of the 600 participants of the meeting voted for the suggestion. An address to the Kyrgyzstan president was written at the meeting; the address openly declares the necessity for territorial division of the republic.
This shocking decision is a reaction of the population from the southern regions. In Bishkek, the people hoped to meet with the leadership of the republic, to put forward their demands and find a solution to their problems. However, none of the high-ranking officials agreed to meet with the people. President Askar Akayev left for his resort residence in Cholpon-Ate. Leaders of the government and the presidential administration hid behind the tall cast iron fence. The protesters had to meet with policemen and soldiers of the special purpose police units. Under the pretext of document control, hundreds of southerners were detained and sent to detention jails; these people were later convoyed out of the Kyrgyz capital.
The people criticize Askar Akayev’s conduct and say that the president only hides behind the backs of ordinary policemen. The people demand that the president keep his promises and punish the guilty of the tragic events. Otherwise, the people insist that the president must resign. The situation in Kyrgyzstan is very serious, which is also confirmed by several facts. Recently, information that leaflets with the demands “at any price to strive for Akayev’s overthrowing” were distributed at one of the Bishkek markets was released. The leaflets run as follows: “For this purpose, block the highways. Don’t agree to start any talks with the authorities.”
The above-mentioned facts prove that the tension in this part of Central Asia is increasing each day. It is especially terrible that the political collision between the opposition and the government, contrary to the will of both parties, is developing into an inter-regional and inter-ethnic conflict. When the southerners reached the Kyrgyz capital, the Bishkek municipal administration organized several meetings to support Askar Akayev. It is quite natural that participants of the meetings were mostly representatives of Kyrgyzstan’s northern clans and Russians living in the republic. The local television broadcast documentaries from the scene showing that non-aboriginal population of the republic protesting against the marches organized by the southerners.
Against this unfavorable background, the authorities are inevitably loosing even the support of those people who used to actively support them. Famous film director Bolot Shamshiyev was among the protesting southerners, although he had no connection with those people. He said: “These people are not my countrymen, but I support those who are insulted and oppressed.” The Kyrgyz people remember perfectly well that Bolot Shamshiyev was a member of the initiative group that proposed the candidature of scholar Askar Akayev to the presidential post. Now, the film director is in the opposition.
His opinion is that the current government is guilty of the total destitution of the republic; all difficulties arose due to Akayev’s regime.
In fact, the march of the Aksy people to the capital of Kyrgyzstan turned out a defeat; they achieved no success there. Moreover, Kyrgyz president Askar Akayev spoke at an expanded session of the Kyrgyz People Assembly Council and warned the opposition that any attempt to “destabilize the situation in the country and any illegal actions would be strictly suppressed.”
However, the opposition doesn’t give up. The opposition issued an address to the march participants saying that the people are going to attain their goals at any price. “And if Askar Akayev doesn’t fulfill our demands within a definite period, we will have to apply the lynch law to the people guilty of the shootings in the Aksy region.”
Yury Razgulyayev PRAVDA.Ru Bishkek Kyrgyzstan
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://world.pravda.ru/world/2002/5/15/40/3622_razdel.html