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Kyrgyzstan Mourns Dead After Uprising
A New Government Takes Control
Ryskeldi Satkeev (ryskeldi64)     Print Article 
Published 2010-04-15 16:05 (KST)   
Kyrgyzstan went through yet another mass revolt which ended with 81 dead and over 1500 wounded in the capital Bishkek. The uprising began in the northern province of Talas on April 6 which then spread to other regions with the bloodiest clashes happening in Bishkek on April 7.

Protests in this Central Asian country were reportedly spontaneous but grew quickly as government tried to disperse the masses. Violent clashes with police and Special Forces were observed in the capital Bishkek and reported by various news agencies on the ground.

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As protesters in Bishkek closed in to the Presidential Palace, Kyrgyz Police reinforcements repeatedly attempted to push rioters back but after a few clashes with the crowd, police retreated to the government building.

As the dramatic scenario played out around the Presidential Palace where Prime Minister Daniyar Usenov and President Bakiyev were commanding the defense units, already ousted Pres. Bakiyev issued executive order to open fire on the protesters. Although the protesters were said by some reports to be unarmed, other news sources reported a small number of automatic rifles and grenade launchers were used by rioters.

Kyrgyz opposition reported that 5 or 6 masked gunmen conducted sniper fire on protesters from the roof of the Presidential Palace which is confirmed by various videos circulating in the regional and world media.

The firefight continued throughout the evening of April 7 followed by the rioters storming of the Presidential Palace. President Bakiyev managed to flee the Presidential Palace during the siege and made his way to the airport where he flew to the southern province of Jalal-Abad, his home province.

Bishkek hospitals were overwhelmed with waves of dead and wounded that needed extensive amount of blood donations.

Throughout the night of April 7 some number of rioters reportedly went on rampage in the capital organizing mass looting. Major shopping centers and commercial businesses were targeted. The interim government formed on the night of April 7 by main opposition party leaders was able to control the mass looting over the following two days.

As the interim government took control of the country, the Kyrgyz nation experienced a shock over the number of deaths which rose to 81 by April 11 with hundreds more wounded.

Kyrgyzstan announced April 8th and 9th to be days of mourning for protestors who died during the revolt. Many grievances were felt throughout the Kyrgyz nation for the dead who were between the ages of 20 and 35.

Some of the fallen were buried in the cemetery near the capital where the victims of the Soviet era had been honored.

The new head of the Interim Government, Roza Otunbayeva ( see Ohmynews interview with Roza Otunbayeva from April 2000 ) announced the full control of the state and addressed a statement to ousted President Bakiyev to step down for the sake of the Kyrgyz Republic.

Meanwhile, escaped Pres. Bakiyev refused to resign threatening the interim government with escalation from political standoff into full blown civil war between the supporters of Bakiyev and the new administration of led by Otunbayeva.

Various western news agencies such as BBC, Al Jazeera and Russia Today were able to interview Bakiyev in his southern home district. Reportedly, he is moving around accompanied by a few dozen armed bodyguards and supporters. In an interview with Russian channel ORT, Bakiyev expressed his disapproval of the death toll claiming he ordered to open fire on protesters after rioters opened fire on his cabinet in the Presidential Palace. Bakiyev also stated the need for intervention by international organizations such as the UN and OSCE to investigate the tragic events as well as creating a peace forces for stability of the country.

The Russian Prime-Minister Vladimir Putin was one of the first foreign officials to recognize the interim government on the eve of April 7. In the following days, Roza Otunbayeva, newly installed head of the interim government held meetings with UN and OSCE representatives.

The latest contact with the new Kyrgyz Administration taking place several days after the revolt was made by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on April 10 discussing the fate of the Manas airbase in Kyrgyzstan which is considered by many military officials as strategic and important hub for American troops in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the Kyrgyz public is growing furious over ousted Bakiyev actions that caused the high death toll. Roza Otunbayeva offered "safe passage" for the Pres. Bakiyev if he agrees to step down. The offer did not include his family members including his two sons and brother.

See OMNI coverage of Bakiev presidency here http://english.ohmynews.com/articleview/article_view.asp?menu=c10400&no=385915&rel_no=1

The Journal of Turkish Weekly
©2010 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Ryskeldi Satkeev

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