Russia and the Middle East
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Kyrgyzstan appoints acting president

25.03.2005
Kyrgyzstan's opposition declared themselves to be in power yesterday and seized key buildings after veteran President Askar Akayev vanished from view following days of violent protests aimed at toppling him.
Kyrgyzstan's acting premier Kurmanbek Bakiyev addressing the public in Bishkek. In an emergency meeting, parliament installed an opposition deputy as acting president and gave the opposition until Friday to present a new government for the Central Asian country. “A decision has been made today with 44 votes for and two abstentions to name Ishenbai Kadyrbekov the new parliamentary speaker and acting president,” former speaker Abdygany Erkebayev told reporters.
Protesters earlier were repelled in a first bid to enter the heavily defended White House - the seat of government in the capital, Bishkek. But, on their second attempt, security forces moved out of the way and let them in to take control.
Yesterday's protests were a culmination of days of demonstrations against what the opposition said were rigged parliamentary elections, amidst grinding poverty and widespread corruption.
One protester could be seen waving a flag from the second floor of the White House. Above, another protester tossed documents out to the cheering crowd of thousands below. The square nearby was splattered with pools of blood.
“This is a popular revolution and the power is in the hands of the people, we don't fear anyone any more,” said Askat Dukenbayev, a professor from the local American University.
At least 30 people were reported injured in the clashes with pro- Akayev supporters in Bishkek, a city of 800,000.
Rumours flew that Akayev had fled the mountainous country which appears likely to become the third former Soviet state in two years to see its entrenched leadership fall to popular protest after disputed elections, following Ukraine and Georgia.


MidEast.ru
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