Tensions are rising in Kyrgyzstan’s capital where hundreds of protesters are camped outside parliament calling for the resignation of the country’s president. Opposition groups accuse Kurmanbek Bakiyev of backtracking on promises of democratic reforms. The president claims evidence has been uncovered that the opposition has plotted to seize control of key state buildings.
Prime Minister Felix Kulov has tried to downplay the protests, saying they show that “a centuries-old culture of dialogue has been preserved”.
The number of protesters yesterday was said to be about 15,000, but dwindled towards nightfall. Further protests are planned for today. The demonstrations have raised fears that there might be a replay of violent protests in March 2005, when Bakiyev’s predecessor Askar Akayev was ousted. Bakiyev has warned he will order the use of force if the rallies become violent.