Heavy Unrest in Kyrgyzstan
President Askar Akayev said he had a plan to prevent a “Tulip Revolution” like what he saw in Ukraine and Georgia. Well, that did not work out so well as reports today of heavy unrest in Kyrgyzstan pass through the AP airwaves:
President Askar Akayev on Monday ordered the Central Election Commission and Supreme Court to investigate alleged violations in the recent parliamentary vote that have triggered weeks of opposition protests in Kyrgyzstan, his office said.
Akayev ordered the commission and court “to pay particular attention to those districts where election results provoked extreme public reaction … and tell people openly who is right and who is wrong,” his office said.
The statement came as more than 17,000 people seized government buildings in the latest protests demanding Akayev’s resignation.
Monday’s biggest demonstration drew about 15,000 people to the southern city of Jalal-Abad, a local government spokesman said. There were no reports of violence a day after demonstrators burned down much of the police headquarters, freed 70 detained protesters and occupied the governor’s office.
Protesters dumped stones on the runway at Jalal-Abad airport, making it difficult for security forces to rush in reinforcements to quell the protests, which some analysts have compared to peaceful revolutions that swept two other former Soviet republics — Georgia and Ukraine — in the past two years.
Akayev has led this mainly Muslim nation for 15 years.
In Osh, Kyrgyzstan’s second-largest city, about 1,000 protesters — armed with clubs and flammable liquid and chanting “Akayev go!” — took control of the governor’s building. Activists first stormed the building Friday, were ousted by security forces Saturday but retook it Monday.
A spokesman for Kyrgyzstan’s President Askar Akayev said on Monday the nation’s leader was ready for talks with the opposition, the Reuters news agency reports. The move followed major unrest in the south of the country which has reportedly claimed up to ten lives already.
Central Asian Kyrgyzstan has become the latest ex-Soviet republic —- after Ukraine and Georgia —- to be rocked by anti-government protests in the wake of elections judged as flawed by international observers.
Protesters rallying against President Askar A. Akayev burned down police headquarters Sunday in the southern Kyrgyzstan city of Jalal-Abad, raising tensions in a country considered key to U.S. hopes for democracy in Central Asia.
A third force is interested in destabilizing Kyrgyzstan, Abdil Segizbayev, press secretary of Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev, said on Monday.
“A third force, extremist and terrorist organizations, is interested in further destabilizing in the republic,” he said.
“They will be taking advantage of the situation created by the opposition for the achievement of their own goals, especially in the south,” he said.
Update: The “Great One”, Instapundit, has been following this hopeful story all along. Today the major networks are following his lead.