"Yurt Revolution" in Kyrgyzstan
Governors Still Held Captive, US Ambassador Slams Elections, and New “Yurt” Government Offices Set Up
Protesters continue to hold two governors in a province west of the capital, Bishkek on Tuesday:
Protesters held a regional and a district governor captive for a second day in western Kyrgyzstan on Tuesday, and thousands rallied in the south to protest reported election fraud and demand that President Askar Akayev resign.
The U.S. ambassador to Kyrgyzstan criticized the ex-Soviet republic’s government on Wednesday for failing to ensure free elections, as opposition supporters continued to rally across the country against alleged voting fraud.
Ambassador Stephen Young said Sunday’s runoff parliamentary elections and the original vote on Feb. 27 were marred by harassment of independent media, government interference in the campaign process, media bias in favor of pro-government candidates and the disqualification of opposition candidates.
New Government Set Up in 6 Jala-Abad Yurts!
On Tuesday, opposition leaders led a rally of about 4,000 supporters on the main square in the city of Jalal-Abad.
“We will not back off on our demand that Akayev must resign!” said opposition leader Kurmanbek Bakiyev, a former prime minister who lost his bid for Parliament on Sunday.
The opposition leaders declared that the Jalal-Abad region, Bakiyev’s home, would from now on be ruled by a special People’s Council. They said similar councils would be created in the next few days in other regions across the country.
They said the council in Jalal-Abad would be working out of the six yurts, traditional dome-shaped tents, that protesters had set up in front of the regional administration building that has been occupied by protesters since the start of the rallies here March 4 in protest of reputed violations in the original Feb. 27 voting.
10,000 protesters in Uzgen
Also on Monday, more than 10,000 people seized a district administration building in Uzgen and forced election officials there to admit fraud, throw out initial runoff results, and announce opposition candidate Adakhan Madumarov to be the winner.
In one case, a local opposition figure was elected to replace the regional governor, who has had to set up his office at a nearby police station because the government buildings were occupied by protesters.
The former prime minister Kurmanbek Bakiyev, a front-runner for the October presidential race, said in an interview that more such gatherings would be held around the country. “How else can we put up with this fraud?” he asked.