Wednesday, April 07, 2010


Riot Deaths Amid Kyrgyz Turmoil
By Timur Toktonaliev and Ainagul Abdurahmanova
Institute for War and Peace Reporting, April 7, 2010
"The authorities in Kyrgyzstan have imposed a state of emergency after running battles between protesters and riot police in the capital Bishkek left 17 people dead. Reports that police used live bullets raise the ongoing confrontation between President Kurmanbek Bakiev and his opponents to a whole new level. Some analysts believe that if the president opts for brute force to deal with protests, there will be no going back. On April 7, several thousand demonstrators marched on the White House, where the president’s office is located, in the centre of Bishkek. As the crowds reached the White House, units of the OMON special police in full riot gear attempted to dispel them using tear gas and smoke grenades. Protesters attempted to get past the high railings that ring the building but were repelled. Eyewitnesses said police also opened fire using live ammunition.
'There have been several attempts to storm the White House, but they’ve been driven back,' said a journalist who was on the spot. 'There are two ranks of police with combat weapons behind the White House railings. They are using their weapons and tear gas. An OMON vehicle seized by the opposition supporters is now ablaze.' As the journalist called IWPR’s office with her account, gunfire could be heard in the background. She said that although the gate had been smashed, no one had got through the fence because of the OMON cordon. The police in turn were staying behind the railings. Another eyewitness on the scene, who works in the local NGO sector, added, 'The people are very aggressive.' The health ministry issued a statement at 17.40 local time saying 17 people had died, most of them from gunshot injuries. Ministry representative Larisa Kachibekova was quoted by the official news agency Kabar as saying 142 people had been injured. [...]"
Photo: Altynay Myrzabekova

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