Thousands of followers of the 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.
The opposition seized the building of the city administration in Talas. The police showed strong resistance to the rioters as they were trying to storm the building of the Interior Ministry.
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 six 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.
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Russia Today: Kyrgyzstan tightens screws on media freedom