Kyrgyz opposition seizes power

BISHKEK (Reuters) - Kyrgyzstan's opposition said on Thursday it had taken power and dissolved parliament in the poor and strategically important Central Asian state after protests forced President Kurmanbek Bakiyev to flee the capital.

Roza Otunbayeva, leader of the interim government, demanded the resignation of the president, whom she helped bring to power five years ago. She said Bakiyev was trying to rally supporters in his power base in southern Kyrgyzstan.

"People in Kyrgyzstan want to build democracy. What we did yesterday was our answer to the repression and tyranny against the people by the Bakiyev regime," Otunbayeva, who once served as foreign minister under Bakiyev, told reporters.

"You can call this revolution. You can call this a people's revolt. Either way, it is our way of saying that we want justice and democracy."
The uprising, which began on Tuesday in a provincial town, was sparked by discontent over corruption, nepotism and rising prices in a nation where a third of the 5.3 million population live below the poverty line. Reuters

17 people killed in Kyrgyzstan protests

(Guardian) - At least 180 people in Kyrgyzstan have been wounded and 17 killed in clashes between riot police and anti-government demonstrators.

Police opened fire when thousands of protesters tried to storm the main government building in the capital Bishkek and overthrow the regime.

Reporters saw bodies lying in the main square outside the office of Kurmanbek Bakiyev, the central Asian republic's president, and opposition leaders said that at least 17 people were killed in the violence.

Bakiyev declared a state of emergency, as riot police firing tear gas and flash grenades beat back the crowds. There were also unconfirmed reports that the country's interior minister had been beaten by an angry mob. Guardian