Friday, April 9, 2010

Kyrgyzstan in crisis as clashes escalate

April 7, 2010 (BBC News) The government in Kyrgyzstan is struggling to retain power as deadly clashes escalate between police and thousands of protesters. Officials say at least 40 people died in the capital, Bishkek, as protesters stormed government and TV offices. The protesters are angry at rising prices and accuse President Kurmanbek Bakiyev of failing to curb corruption. A key opposition leader has said the government has now resigned but there is no official confirmation. The leader, Temir Sariyev, said Prime Minister Daniyar Usenov had agreed to tender the government's resignation and that Mr Bakiyev had left Bishkek.
Mr Sariyev said a new "people's government" had been formed, headed by a former foreign minister, Roza Otunbayeva. The Agence France-Presse news agency quoted an airport employee as saying that Mr Bakiyev had flown out of Bishkek aboard a small plane. A senior opposition figure, Galina Skripkina, told Reuters news agency the president had flown to the southern city of Osh. However, the Russian RIA news agency quoted a government source as saying the president was still in the city. The US state department, meanwhile, said it believed the Kyrgyz government "remains in power". The opposition has taken control of at least one television channel. Another opposition leader, Omurbek Tekebayev, said in a broadcast that at least 100 demonstrators had been killed in the clashes. A Kyrgyz human rights activist, Asel Kuttubayeva, said on the channel that several regional administrations had been seized and their governors had resigned. None of the claims on the broadcasts can be independently confirmed.
The health ministry said 40 people had died and more than 400 were injured in the clashes.
One doctor in Bishkek, Akylbek Yeukebayev, told Reuters there were "dozens of dead bodies, all with gunshot wounds".
Kyrgyzstan, a strategically important Central Asian state, houses a key US military base that supplies forces in Afghanistan. Russia also has a base there.

The whole article and video are available at