Two hundred and fifty followers of Akylbek Zhaparov who seized the administration of the Kochkor district (Naryn region of Kyrgyzstan) are prepared to mount their horses and ride to Bishkek. The riders are members of the Democratic Club of the Free Youth. The Club boasts of a membership of over 1,000 people in this district alone. Its activists are mad at the local authorities that ignore their protest rally.
Zhaparov’s followers have already elected an alternative akim [head] of the Kochkor district. He is Kachyke Beishekeev, the head of the Cholpon village administration.
Removed from the parliamentary race in the first round of the election, Zhaparov urged residents of Kochkor to vote against all candidates in the second round. This was what most of them did, invalidating the election. By the acting legislation, the candidates who participated in the election cannot run for the parliament again.
The Pervoimaisk District Court of Kochkor nevertheless permitted Turdakun Usubaliyev, former first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Kyrgyzstan who had ran for the parliament in the second round, to participate in the election again.
Zhaparov’s followers refuse to recognize the decision as valid and plan a march to Bishkek by way of a protest action.
The protesters intend to overrun the local telephone exchange and printing works, today.
If you have been following the elections in Kyrgyzstan you are quite aware of the government disqualifying opposition candidates from the various district races. This is the first time I’ve heard of the government allowing one of their candidates to participate in clear violation of the law where others have not been able to do so.
There will be a new vote at some polling stations in Kyrgyzstan, where elections were deemed as rigged, the press service of the Central Election Commission of Kyrgyzstan told RIA Novosti on Thursday.
In Kurshab and Alai districts, where opposition candidates Adakhan Madumarov and Marat Sultanov called for a revote, leaders and outsiders allegedly changed places.
“That these leaders have called themselves elected is illegal,” the Central Election Commission explained. “According to the Election Code, if the vote is deemed as faulty at any polling station, and the result influences the vote results for the entire district, a new vote shall be organized at this station within two weeks.”
President Warns of Repercussions to Protesters
Nobody in Kyrgyzstan, except a handful of politicians, want revolutions and unrest, Kyrgyz President Askar Akaev believes.
“Some defeated and thrown overboard politicians have cast off their masks, including democratic ones, and are now openly calling for dethroning power, closing trunk roads, unlawful blocking work of the state administrations”, the head of state said addressing the nation on the past parliamentary elections, Kazinform cites RIA Novosti.
“Instigators’ appeals are being heard seeking throwing us all into lawlessness, the morass of a civil war and ethnic conflicts”, he noted.
Mr. Akaev firmly said that power “will not allow this course of developments, rocking peace and accord in the country”. He warned that all those guilty of staging unrest “will bear responsibility for destabilization”.
The elections saw President Askar Akaev maintain an overwhelmingly loyal parliament. Opposition protesters have seized administration buildings in Bazar-Korgon in the Jalal-Abad region, in Kochkor in the eastern Naryn Province, and in the southern town of Toktogul.
Other demonstrations continued today in western Talas District, in the southern city Osh, and in the capital Bishkek.
This next segment shows how confusing it must be for citizens in Kyrgyzstan. Two Different Reports on One Event:
1.) Kyrgyz protesters in Talas today released the governor they had been holding captive since they occupied the local administrative building two days ago.
2.) Kyrgyz Interior Ministry police broke through the window of an administration building in the Jalal-Abad region today to release a district administration official who was being held hostage by antigovernment protesters inside. The police operation happened in the town of Bazar-Korgon. There were no injuries reported during the operation, which secured the official’s release. Protesters in Bazar-Korgon have occupied the administration building and were holding the official inside to protest the results of Kyrgyzstan’s recent parliamentary elections.
So, why are the people upset? Here’s one reason:
Journalists in Bishkek say Akaev has been saying much the same thing for several weeks.
Several opposition leaders were fined by a Bishkek district court before the first round of elections for allegedly organizing an illegal rally in the capital.
Asiya Sasykbaeva is the director of Interbilim, a Bishkek-based civil-society support center. She said Akaev has sought unsuccessfully to convince protesters to stop their actions. Sasykbaeva predicted that negotiations between protesters and the government are likely to fail because people do not trust the president.
“The problem is that [Akaev] is always lying about transparency in these elections. He’s trying to say the international community recognized the elections (Many International organizations had problems with the elections). He wants to say [protesters] shouldn’t act like that because everything is OK in Kyrgyzstan,” Sasykbaeva said.
The International Crisis Group’s Lewis warns that if the government rejects compromise, the situation could escalate even further.
*The sign on the back of the rider pictured above actually reads, “I am for Resignation.”
Update: (7:30 PM) Instapundit, The Great One, has linked to this post and continues to give a voice to this movement.