There have been violent clashes between pro and anti-government demonstrators in the capital of Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek. Riot police fired tear gas to break up fights between the two sides in the first violence in six days of protests. Several people were injured. The opposition is demanding president Kurmanbek Bakiyev step down, accusing him of failing to honour promises of constitutional reform. The president threatened to dissolve parliament after the opposition drafted a new charter that would reduce his powers, handing more over to parliament.
It is the deepest crisis to hit the impoverished ex- Soviet republic since long-standing leader Askar Akayev was ousted 16 months ago. Pro-government parties have called on Bakiyev supporters to turn out en masse on Wednesday to back their president.