Riots in Kyrgyzstan
Protesters Take Over Jalal-Abad Police Stations
The AP is reporting:
At least 10,000 pro-democracy protesters stormed a police station and forced workers to flee a governor’s office in Kyrgyzstan on Sunday, a government spokesman said, in the biggest demonstration since allegedly fraudulent elections last month.
The government said it was ready to negotiate with the protesters who have demanded President Askar Akayev’s resignation.
Opposition leader Kurmanbek Bakiyev said talks would only be possible if Akayev himself sits down at negotiating table.
Police fled to the roof of their station, firing shots into the air to deter the stone-throwing protesters in the southern city of Jalal-Abad, regional government spokesman Orazaly Karasartov said.
He said smoke could be seen rising from the police station and that protesters broke windows.
Local civic activist Cholpon Ergesheva said 20,000 people were taking part in the protests and that the demonstrators had taken over the governor’s office in Jalal-Abad. She said two of the police station’s three buildings were on fire.
Several people were believed to be injured, though it was not clear how many.
Russian News and Information Agency is just now reporting that:
The interior department building in Jalal-Abad has been practically burned down as a result of a storm by participants in a protest rally against the results of the parliamentary elections in Kyrgyzstan, witnesses report.
According to witnesses, police officers left the building the rally participants had showered with bottles with flame liquid.
According to unconfirmed data, there are wounded among the protesters and law enforcers.
A day earlier, police had forcibly evicted stone-throwing demonstrators from the government buildings in the southern cities of Osh and Jalal-Abad.
More than a dozen people, including at least three police officers were injured and more than 200 demonstrators were arrested, police and civic activists said.
More than 20,000 people rallied in Jalal-Abad, protesting the police raid and demanding the release of about 70 protesters detained by police there, said Ergesheva.
About 400 protesters broke through police cordons and seized control of a regional governor’s office in Kyrgyzstan, officials said. Three policemen were hospitalized with minor injuries during the rally Friday in the town of Osh, about 700 kilometers (430 miles) south of the capital, Bishkek, police said.
They were the first reported injuries in nationwide protests sparked by the Feb. 27 parliamentary polls in which President Askar Akayev secured an overwhelmingly loyal Parliament and his son and daughter won seats. The rallies intensified following March 13 runoffs.