The World Reacts to Kyrgyzstan
From The UK Independent:
Yesterday morning, President Askar Akayev ruled Kyrgyzstan, and vowed to see down protesters. But by mid-afternoon he had fled the country.
Kurmanbek Bakiev, an opposition leader, arrived in Mr Akayev’s office where he told onlookers: “I did not expect this, I thought we would have a rally and would appeal to the president.
“Because they did not come to negotiations this was the result.”
From The Jerusalem Post :
Czechoslovakia had a Velvet Revolution, Georgia had a Rose Revolution, Ukraine had an Orange Revolution – and now Kyrgyzstan is having a Purim revolution.
From The Taipei Times:
“I am very happy because for 15 years we’ve been seeing the same ugly face that has been shamelessly smiling at us,” said 35-year-old Abdikasim Kamalov, standing outside the building with legs planted apart, holding a red Kyrgyz flag. “We could no longer tolerate this. We want changes.”
From The London Times :
In Mr Akayev’s personal quarters I found a protester in a general’s hat raiding the fridge. Another was having a go on the President’s exercise bike and a third was trying on his multicoloured ceremonial felt robes. The President himself had fled.
From China’s People’s Daily:
Kyrgyzstan’s security problem will not only affect Russia, but also its neighboring countries as well. Russia hopes the country will try to keep calm and stable during the current political turmoil…
The Muslim Uzbekistan Contains Central Asian Regional reports:
Uzbekistan – In Uzbekistan, where President Islam Karimov runs a tightly controlled government with thousands of political prisoners in jail, state-run television news did not mention the Kyrgyz uprising as breaking news.
It did have a one-minute, matter-of-fact report on the events in Bishkek at the end of the programme, which was full of the usual praise for the Uzbek government.
Kazakhstan – In Kazakhstan – the largest country in the region where presidential elections are due next year and which is seen as a likely target for a popular uprising – television channels did not even mention the Kyrgyz crisis in their news broadcasts until early evening.
Kazakhstan’s Foreign Ministry offered brotherly assistance and expressed hopes that the Kyrgyz people – “renowned for their traditions of wisdom and reason” – would emerge from “this difficult situation with dignity”.
Tajikistan – The Tajik Foreign Ministry said it planned to issue a statement on Friday, but state television downplayed the Kyrgyz revolution, reporting at the end of its news broadcasts that opposition supporters had seized control of some government buildings.
Turkmenistan – Turkmenistan, the most isolated and repressive of the Central Asian governments, ignored the events in Kyrgyzstan.
State television concentrated on showing day-old footage of a visit by Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, who had come to discuss gas supplies with Turkmen leader Saparmurat Niyazov, who declared himself president-for-life several years ago.
From South Africa News:
Protesters also freed Kulov, a former vice president jailed in 2000 and who many now believe will become the leader of the fractious opposition.
“Let’s keep the peace, let’s not lose our head,” Kulov said into a megaphone, addressing some 4 000 people on the steps of the White House. “I want to thank you that you weren’t afraid and were peaceful and civilized.”
From the Sydney Morning Herald :
“It’s not the opposition that has seized power, it’s the people who have taken power. The people. They have been fighting for so long against corruption, against that (Akayev) family,” opposition activist Ulan Shambetov said.
From the Arab World News :
Unlike Ukraine and Georgia, there is no single unifying opposition leader in Kyrgyzstan. But Bakiyev played a leading role in events yesterday and could turn out to be a key figure. “We will establish order. We will not allow looting. We will hold our own elections to start our rule,” said Bakiyev.
From the Daily Times of Pakistan :
They threw portraits of Akayev out of the windows and waved the flag of Kyrgyzstan. Thirty people were reported injured. A short while later, the two main opposition leaders, Kurmanbek Bakiyev and Rosa Otunbayeva, entered the building. Addressing a crowd on the steps, Bakiyev said, “If the generals and police come over to our side, we will solve this problem peacefully.”
From the New Zealand Herald :
Impoverished Kyrgyzstan looks set to become the third ex-Soviet state in two years to see its entrenched leadership fall to popular protests after disputed elections, following Ukraine and Georgia.
Finally, from the UN News Agency IRIN News:
The demonstrators, armed with rocks, clubs and shields taken from bemused riot police, stormed the Soviet-era structure housing the government and presidency and took over the main television station.
The protesters were in a jubilant mood as darkness fell on the capital. “Today is a great day for our country – the greatest since our independence!