April 7th, 2010
04:15 PM ET

Protests topple Kyrgyzstan president, opposition says

Opposition supporters clash with police during an anti-government protest in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

For more updates on the situation in Kyrgyzstan, read the full CNN.com story.

[Updated at 4:14 p.m.] Kyrgyzstan's former foreign minister said Wednesday she is in charge of an interim government following protests that have driven President Kurmanbek Bakiyev from office.

"I hope we have control of the whole situation, but at the same time I must tell you that there is a lot of work," Roza Otunbayeva, who called herself the country's interim leader, told CNN. No independent confirmation of the claim was immediately available.

The Kyrgyz Health Ministry said 40 people were killed and around 400 people were wounded in the protests.

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[Updated at 4:12 p.m.] Bishkek resident Munarbek Kuldanbaev told CNN that opposition leaders had taken control of the state television network, claimed to have taken control of the government and called for calm.Opposition figures reported that Bakiev had fled the capital and regional governors had stepped down. But there was no independent confirmation of those claims, and in Washington, the U.S. State Department said it believed Bakiev was still in charge.

[Updated at 3:57 p.m.] A U.S. national security source told CNN that all American citizens and personnel in Kyrgyzstan were accounted for. But a senior Pentagon official told CNN that the turmoil has interrupted flights into and out of Kyrgyzstan's Manas Air Base, an important link in the supply line for U.S. forces in nearby Afghanistan.

It was unclear when those flights would resume, but the U.S. military has contingency plans to deal with the situation, the official said.

[Updated at 2:06 p.m.] The U.S. State Department said Wednesday it can't confirm reports that the government of Kyrgyzstan has fallen.

"We have no indication the government has ceased to function," spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters.

"We continue to think the government remains in power" and said the U.S. Embassy in Bishkek was functioning normally.

[Updated at 1:15 p.m.] The Kyrgyz Health Ministry said that along with at least 40 deaths, around 400 people were wounded in fighting in Bishkek, the capital, between demonstrators supporting the political opposition and police, and the casualty toll is expected to rise.

[Updated 12:54 p.m] We now have a photo gallery showing the violence in Kyrgyzstan.

[Updated at 12:19 p.m.] Street fighting in the capital has resulted in more than 20 deaths, the Interfax news agency reported.

At least 21 people died and more than 180 people were wounded in fighting in Bishkek between demonstrators supporting the political opposition and police, Interfax reported, citing Kyrgyz media. But opposition members are saying many more people have been killed.

Interfax said Kabar, the Kyrgyz news agency, reported that the building of the National Security Service in Bishkek, the capital, had been seized and that detainees had been released from its pre-trial jail.The service denied the report, according to Interfax, and said protesters made an unsuccessful attempt to seize the building. Cars were seen ablaze near the structure.

[Updated at 11:51 a.m.] Protesters have gotten a hold of an armored vehicle, witnesses said, and it was not far from Kyrgyzstan's government headquarters, Interfax News Agency reported.

Interfax also reports cars were afire near the National Security Service building and protesters were armed with weapons thought to have been taken from police.

The Pentagon said the U.S. base and its personnel are not affected and there has been no change in security there.

Russian and Kyrgyz media reported the building of the National Security Service has been seized and detainees have been released from its pre-trial jail. The security service denies the report, saying there had been an unsuccessful attempt to take the building. Local media also reported the  building of the Office of the Prosecutor General has burned down and police have been detained protesters and were hauling them away in buses.

[Updated at 10:38 a.m.] Twenty-one people died in Kyrgyzstan's capital Wednesday in fighting between demonstrators and police, Russia's Interfax News Agency reported, citing Kyrgyz media.

More than 180 people were injured in the fighting, the media reported. Interfax is an independent Russian news agency.

[Updated at 10:35 a.m.] Eyewitnesses in Kyrgyzstan's capital said opposition supporters have occupied the second floor of the country's parliament and reported a fire at a government building, the Interfax news agency reported.

These events reportedly occurred during clashes Wednesday between government forces and opposition supporters in Bishkek that resulted in 17 deaths and the declaration of a state of emergency.

No resistance was made to the protesters at the parliament and there were no deputies inside. The building housing the country's Office of the Prosecutor General caught fire, with black smoke seen coming out of the building, Interfax reported.

Interfax is an independent Russian news agency. Attempts to reach Kyrgyz officials for comment have not been successful.

[Updated at 8:36 a.m.] Ten people have been killed in an opposition rally in Kyrgyzstan, Russia's Interfax news agency reported Wednesday.

The news agency quoted Toktaim Umetaliyeva, a human rights activist who is among the protesters, as saying that 10 people have been shot dead. Repeated attempts to reach the president's office in Kyrgyzstan were unsuccessful Wednesday.

[Posted at 7:39 a.m.] The government of Kyrgyzstan declared a state of emergency Wednesday after fighting between rioters and police in the central Asian nation left two people dead and around 100 injured, Russian media reported.

About 200 demonstrators clashed with police in Bishkek, the capital of the former Soviet republic. Using riot gear, stun grenades and dogs, police detained protesters and hauled them away in buses.

The fighting erupted amid recent political unrest between opposition forces and the government.

There has been unrest in other cities, such as Talas and Naryn. Russian state media reported that the Bishkek unrest was triggered by clashes that took place in Talas where some opposition leaders were arrested.

Russia, meanwhile, is calling on Kyrgyz authorities and the opposition to settle all disputes without force and with a democratic process.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed his concern Tuesday over reports that demonstrators in Kyrgyzstan had seized a government building in Talas. They had been protesting the high costs of fuel and electricity.

"While freedom of assembly is an essential element of any democratic society, the rule of law must be respected," said Ban, who urged dialogue to resolve disputes.

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soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Daniel

    Hopefully the new leaders may stop collaborating with the West in their sinister plot to conquer the Middle East and try to arrange a peaceful settlement.Anything to stop this needless bloodshed!

    April 8, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  2. da bear

    Dont mess with Russian territory

    April 8, 2010 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
  3. renji1

    maybe this will convince Russia to reform the Soviet Union...

    April 10, 2010 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
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