View Full Version : Kyrgyzstan riots

04-07-2010, 08:09 PM

Kyrgyzstan riot police open fire as protesters storm government building
Opposition claim 100 anti-government demonstrators killed as president declares state of emergency in central Asian republic

At least 17 people have been killed and 180 people wounded in Kyrgyzstan in clashes between riot police and anti-government demonstrators.

Police opened fire when thousands of protesters tried to storm the main government building in the capital, Bishkek, and overthrow the regime.

Opposition sources said 100 demonstrators had been killed but the claim could not immediately be confirmed.

Reporters saw bodies lying in the main square outside the office of Kurmanbek Bakiyev, the central Asian republic's president.

Bakiyev declared a state of emergency as riot police firing tear gas and flash grenades beat back the crowds. There were unconfirmed reports that the interior minister had been beaten by an angry mob.

Opposition activist Shamil Murat told Associated Press that he saw the body of minister Moldomusa Kongatiyev in a government building in the western town of Talas.

Murat said the protesters beat up Kongatiyev and forced him to order his subordinates inBishkek to stop a crackdown on an opposition rally there.

Protests, which began last week in several Kyrgz provincial cities, erupted in the capital when around 200 people gathered outside the offices of the main opposition parties.

Demonstrators dodged attempts by police to stop them and marched towards the city centre, reports said. The crowd, armed with iron bars and stones, then tried to seize the main government building using an armoured vehicle. Several shots rang out from the building.

The leader of the main opposition party called on every Kyrgyz family to adopt the philosophy "freedom or death". In a broadcast after the state television channel was taken over by opposition activists, Omurbek Tekebayev of the Ata-Meken party called for Bakiyev to resign.

In Naryn, a town in central Kyrgyzstan, about 3,000 anti-government protesters today seized the main government building. They ordered local governor Almazbek Akmataliyev to leave and then threw documents and a flag from the window of his office. The crowd then tried to seize the local police department.

Opposition supporters also occupied the building of the Chuy region administration in Tokmak, a town about 30 miles (50km) from Bishkek, Interfax reported.

Some 4,000 protesters gathered at the main square in Talas, on the border with Kazakhstan. Witnesses said protesters, throwing stones, were attempting to storm the local police headquarters, a day after rampaging through the regional government's headquarters, fighting off police and burning Bakiyev's portraits.

The small central Asian republic is home to a US airbase supplying Afghanistan, and has been a source of increasing tension between Moscow and Washington. The Kremlin is irritated by the US presence in its "backyard". It has also grown frustrated with the Bakiyev regime, which it believes has fallen under US influence.

Today's protests appear to have been largely spontaneous. All the opposition figures who might have led the uprising were arrested last night and remained locked up. This morning's protests appear to have been an explosion of popular frustration rather than a well-organised coup attempt.

One commentator said punitive price increases on water and gas ignited the riots.

"In the last few months there has been growing anger over this non-political issue," said Paul Quinn-Judge, the central Asia project director of the International Crisis Group. "The government thought they could get away with it. Most people agreed but in the last few weeks we have seen several rumblings in the secondary towns and cities across Kyrgyzstan. There has also been a crisis inside government. Now it has all come together in one giant wreck."

According to Quinn-Judge, Kyrgyzstan was facing several power struggles – between the government and opposition but also inside Bakiyev's family-run regime. "It's not a happy family. They don't get on," he said. "Some of them are upset that one of them is creaming off large parts of the economy."

The key question was whether Bakiyev – who came to power in 2005 after the pro-reform Tulip Revolution – was prepared to use force to crush the revolt, he said.

Kyrgyz prime minister Daniyar Usenov condemned the opposition rallies, and said about 100 people were injured in the violence in Talas. "They are bandits, not an opposition movement," he said today. "This kind of thing cannot be called opposition."

Bishkek residents said internet access had been blocked in households around the city and that the main road between Talas and Bishkek had been cordoned off by police.

Kyrgyzstan was once the most progressive country in central Asia – a relative comparison given the region is run by democracy-averse presidents. In recent years it has moved towards authoritarianism. There has been increasing pressure on the media and fabricated cases against opposition leaders.

Recently Bakiyev mused that Krygzstan needed to emulate Russia's authoritarian model, under Vladimir Putin

Russia, the main regional power, called for restraint. "We have consistently urged that all disagreements – political, economic and social – are resolved by the existing Kyrgyz democratic procedures without the use of force and without harm to the citizens of Kyrgyzstan," the deputy foreign minister, Grigory Karasin, said according to Interfax news agency.

Last week, the UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon visited Bishkek and called on the government to do more to protect human rights. The UN said yesterday that Ban was concerned at events in Talas and urged all parties to show restraint.

Had never seen anything like this. The people totally controlling the events. Even police runs away from them. "Power to the people" immediately comes to mind.

04-07-2010, 08:11 PM
What's Behind the Kyrgyzstan Revolution
By Karl Horberg

Protest season has begun again in Kyrgyzstan. Unfortunately, the sight of crowds storming Ala-Too Square and blood in front of the White House are familiar images. It was only five years ago last month a spontaneous demonstration morphed into the Tulip Revolution that sent President Askar Akayev and his family fleeing to Russia.

The Tulip Revolution was largely a result of the discontent surrounding the February 2005 parliamentary elections which were criticized by observers and widely seen as fraudulent (it did not help that Akayev’s son and daughter both won seats in the Supreme Council). Bolstered by successful color revolutions in Lebanon and Ukraine just months earlier, Kyrgyz people took to the streets, first in the southern city of Jalal-Abad, and then in the capital, Bishkek.

The term “revolution”, however, should be used loosely. Once the dust settled the results of the March run-off elections were validated and the politicians who were called frauds only days before were sworn in. To make matters even more confusing two former Akayev administration officials, Felix Kulov and Kurmanbek Bakiyev, became Prime Minister and President, respectively.

The word “authoritarian” will be used frequently in the coming days, but the unrest that began earlier this week in the city of Talas did not have to do with fraudulent elections or nepotism. This is not to stay Bakiyev is not authoritarian. He has stacked parliament with his supporters, has been systematically eliminating dissidents, and recently questioned whether democracy requires elections or respect for human rights. These protests, however, are fueled by rage over basic services. Utility prices were raised last month, sparking peaceful protests in the capital. Now a few pennies extra for heat may not seem like something that justifies the overthrowing of your government. However, consider the fact that Kyrgyzstan has faced some harsh winters in the past few years, food prices are rising quickly and utilities are less than reliable. Meanwhile the president seems more concerned with anointing his son as his successor. This has made for a deadly combination that spilled out into the streets of Bishkek.

Will we see the collapse of government again? I sincerely doubt it. (Although I may be completely wrong. The New York Times is reporting Bakiyev has fled Bishkek and Twitter traffic seems to suggest that he has resigned.) For one thing, Bakiyev is a much more skilled politician than Akayev. Not only was he able to weather the storm of protests in 2006, but he managed to completely shut out the opposition from Parliament, restructure the government and deftly manipulated both the US and Russia over the threatened closure of Manas Air Base.

Putting aside Bakiyev’s political skills, the opposition is weak and fragmented. A coalition of opposition parties united behind Almazbek Atambayev in the 2009 presidential elections but only received 8% of the vote. Atambayev is nowhere to be seen during the recent unrest. Roza Otunbayeva, the leader of the Social Democratic Party and key member of the Tulip Revolution, has been the face of the protestors. Sadly, like the last time around Otunbayeva and company seem caught off guard and genuinely surprised at the ability of a popular uprising to unseat the government.

In order to maintain any semblance of credibility the opposition will have to act quickly to stop looters (another unfortunate case of Tulip Revolution déjà vu), distance themselves from the Bakiyev regime, and pass reforms that will improve the living conditions of the average Kyrgyz citizen. This is will not be an easy task considering Bakiyev supporters make up the majority of the parliament and the election commission.

The writer was a peace corps volunteer in Kyrgyzstan from 2004-2006. You can follow him on Twitter.

04-07-2010, 09:19 PM
Not good.

Meanwhile, Thailand also declares state of emergency amidst anti-government protests. (Apr 7, 2010)


04-07-2010, 10:27 PM
Wish that Lithuanians would be so organized and also took actions against government. Some officials definitely deserve horrible and painful death.

04-07-2010, 10:54 PM
The leader of the main opposition party called on every Kyrgyz family to adopt the philosophy "freedom or death". Every time I see these things, I wonder if those "leaders" would actually die for freedom themselves. Most likely they are just using slogans like that to fool innocent people -- essentially using other people's blood to further their own political agenda.

A perfect example from China:

Finally I just would like to say:
"Dying for freedom" is not worth it.

04-08-2010, 10:43 AM
It's like that everywhere. The difference only lies with the people. Some know that they r being treated like scum, some don't... It's the same thing everywhere. And Obama wins a Nobele prize...

04-08-2010, 02:04 PM
Not good.

Meanwhile, Thailand also declares state of emergency amidst anti-government protests. (Apr 7, 2010)


And I'm supposed to be going to Bangkok on May 1. Turns out we couldn't have picked a much worse time. I hope I can get a refund on my ticket.

04-14-2010, 04:01 PM
Wish that Lithuanians would be so organized and also took actions against government. Some officials definitely deserve horrible and painful death.

You can write in press about them, you can vote them off, you have different active political parties. That's enough to utter your opinion and elect the execute and legislative power.

04-28-2010, 02:52 PM
And I'm supposed to be going to Bangkok on May 1. Turns out we couldn't have picked a much worse time. I hope I can get a refund on my ticket.U still going friend? Good luck if you do, because you're going to need it.
Thai soldier killed as security forces confront red shirts
April 29, 2010

BANGKOK: A soldier was fatally shot in the head during a tense confrontation between security forces and anti-government protesters in Bangkok that left 18 people injured.

The stand-off, which followed a period of relative calm in the city, came yesterday as hundreds of soldiers and police officers blocked a convoy of red-shirted protesters who had left their fortified rally base in central Bangkok.

''Now one soldier has died and 18 people have been wounded,'' an official with Bangkok's emergency medical services said.

Officials said earlier that riot police and soldiers had fired warning shots.

Emergency services said 16 people had been taken to hospital in the stand-off near Don Mueang International Airport, in the north of the capital.

About 2000 red-shirt protesters had earlier moved out of their sprawling rally site in utilities and on motorcycles to travel to the north of the capital, which remains under a state of emergency.

Thai media reported that rubber bullets were fired during the stand-off, and red-shirt leaders accused troops of using ''war weapons'' against the protesters, who want immediate elections to replace the government of the Prime Minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva.

''It looks like a war. They are fighting with unarmed people,'' said a protest leader, Nattawut Saikua.

Street clashes earlier this month and grenade attacks last week in the heart of Bangkok have left 26 people dead and hundreds more wounded in the country's worst political unrest for almost two decades.

Raising the pressure on the embattled premier, the Constitutional Court has agreed to hear a recommendation by an election body to dissolve the ruling Democrat Party for alleged misuse of grant money, a court official said.

He declined to give a time frame for the case but said Mr Abhisit's party would be asked to provide a written defence.

Agence France-Presse

05-13-2010, 04:27 PM
Dissident Thai General Shot; Army Moves to Face Protesters

05-14-2010, 05:32 AM
U still going friend? Good luck if you do, because you're going to need it.

Didn't push through with the trip. I got my ticket refund and decided to go to Puerto Galera (http://www.puertogalera.org/) instead.

I hope the situation stabilizes soon, though. I'm planning to go there next year (it was supposed to be my first trip abroad).

05-14-2010, 06:11 AM
Hadn't realised that Thailand is actually in Kyrgystan. Then again, geography and politics were never my things.

06-14-2010, 01:59 AM
Hadn't realised that Thailand is actually in Kyrgystan. Back to Kyrgyzstan, more than 100 people dead in recent days
Kyrgyzstan rioting toll passes 100, troops given shoot-to-kill orders

Reporting from Moscow —In a desperate bid to stop the spread of ethnic violence in southern Kyrgyzstan, the interim government Sunday mobilized hundreds of reservist troops and issued a decree authorizing soldiers to shoot to kill rioters.

The move came after Moscow denied a request Saturday by interim President Roza Otunbayeva to send in Russian troops to quash the ethnic riots in the former Soviet republic.

More than 100 people have been killed in three days of fighting that began with clashes between the Kyrgyz and Uzbek ethnic groups in the city of Osh and has since spread to other areas of the south, including Jalal-Abad, according to news reports and officials. About 1,200 people have been injured.

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An estimated 75,000 Uzbeks have fled across the border into neighboring Uzbekistan, an unnamed official with that nation's Emergency Ministry told RIA Novosti news agency Sunday. A majority of them were women, children and injured persons, the official said.

The plea for help from Russia was unusual for Kyrgyzstan, which gained its independence from Moscow with the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. Kyrgyzstan has been ruled by an interim government and plagued by occasional violence since a coup in April ousted President Kurmanbek Bakiyev.

Though Russia has said it will not intervene in what it called an internal Kyrgyzstan matter, it has sent additional troops to beef up security at a military base it maintains in northern Kyrgyzstan, Natalia Timakova, press secretary for Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, confirmed.

Earlier, a Russian defense source speaking on condition of anonymity had said that three Ilyushin Il-76 military transport planes carry a battalion of troops was flown to the Russian military base near the northern Kyrgyzstan city of Kant, far from the rioting, to provide extra security at the facility.

The United States also maintains an air base in northern Kyrgyzstan that is used for resupplying Western troops in Afghanistan.

The Kyrgyz government's decision to mobilize an estimated 700 reservists came as local police and military troops have failed to bring the violence under control and reflected in part concerns about the ties between southern forces and the local population.

"It is a reasonable step since all the local police and most of the troops stationed in the area are ethnic Kyrgyz and belong to the same clans as the organizers of the ethnic attacks in the south," said Sergei Abashin, senior researcher at the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology in Moscow. "But I am afraid that this step is already late as the situation requires urgent action."

Kyrgyz make up 70% of the country's population, whereas Uzbeks are the largest minority group, at 14% and are concentrated in the south.

In Osh, rioting intensified Sunday after an overnight lull, according to local news reports. Associated Press reported that triumphant crowds of Kyrgyz men had control of the city and the few remaining Uzbeks had barricaded themselves in their neighborhoods. Fires raged across the city of 250,000, and food was scarce.

Violence erupted over the weekend in Jalal-Abad, north of Osh, where 14 people had been killed so far in rioting, authorities said. On Sunday, a state of emergency and a curfew were declared in the area.

Witnesses said many houses in the center of Jalal-Abad were on fire. Gangs of young men, white kerchiefs covering the lower part of their faces, many of them armed with automatic weapons, threw Molotov cocktails into Uzbek homes and looted and burned shops and cars.

Overnight, mobs reportedly burned down the central trade center and a television station. They also reportedly captured a military unit in town and stole their weapons, and seized a police station.

"These mobs made up of young Kyrgyz are armed, and the police and the military are not doing anything to disarm them since they are also Kyrgyz," said Murojon Alimov, 36, an Uzbek businessman, in a telephone interview Sunday from Jalal-Abad. "I don't want to risk the lives of my family and try to get them out of the country, and the most important thing is that it is my city, and I was born here and we are not going away.

"I will stay in my home and will find a way to protect my wife and children to the last," he said.

But Kimsanjon Mavlyanov, 55, an Uzbek trader, decided to take his large extended family and flee the city. "How can we protect ourselves if we are not armed and all Kyrgyz have weapons," said Mavlyanov in a phone interview. "What can we do with empty hands?"

Mavlyanov said he turned and took one last look as they were leaving Sunday morning. "There was a huge cloud of black smoke all over my city," he said in a shaky voice.

Researcher Abashin blamed the riots on the weakness of the interim government. Supporters of the former president and members of his clan probably "took advantage of the situation and must have incited mobs of young men, poorly educated, idle, with no jobs," he said.

"Uzbeks were the easy prey as they have no access to weapons and they are the most vulnerable section of the local community," he said. "Local police would easily surrender their weapons to young Kyrgyz rioters as they have common relatives and friends in this clan, and they would never shoot at their own."

Bakiyev, in self-imposed exile in Belarus, said in an interview with Interfax news agency that he had nothing to do with the riots.

"Instead of mobilizing all necessary resources in time to localize the conflict, interim government representatives give interviews and hold press conferences," he said, "with the goal to once again lie about me and my relatives, accusing us of being involved in the riots."

Copyright © 2010, The Los Angeles Times

06-14-2010, 10:06 AM
It's sad, especially since Kyrgyz and Uzbek people are really close relatives.

Like it was said at the end of the movie "Underground":
"War is not a war unless a brother kills a brother"

06-14-2010, 10:58 AM
Like it was said at the end of the movie "Underground":
"War is not a war unless a brother kills a brother"Ethnic tensions are almost always between brothers -- outside of the New World, no?

Correct me if I'm wrong but I remember Kyrgyzs are more related to Kazakhs (actually not that close in comparison) while Uzbeks are more related to Uyghurs, so while they are all Turkish people, linguistically they are not the closest.

06-14-2010, 11:58 AM
Ethnic tensions are almost always between brothers -- outside of the New World, no?

Correct me if I'm wrong but I remember Kyrgyzs are more related to Kazakhs (actually not that close in comparison) while Uzbeks are more related to Uyghurs, so while they are all Turkish people, linguistically they are not the closest.

Turkic actually :cool:

06-14-2010, 10:22 PM
It's sad, especially since Kyrgyz and Uzbek people are really close relatives.
I was about to write the same and ask for an explanation of the ethnic tension between the two. May it's like sinobball put it, I don't really know, but it's very weird to me. I suppose Uzbeks are a tiny minority right?