Kyrgyzstan’s political opposition has staged nationwide demonstrations against the country’s president ahead of elections this year.
Around a thousand people gathered in the capital Bishkek, accusing President Kurmanbek Bakiyev of corruption and strong arm tactics toward rivals. Kyrgyzstan’s Social Democratic Party leader Roza Otumbayeva said: ‘‘We wanted to solve problems without rallies but they are introducing laws that limit the activity of non-government organisations, they are limiting freedom of speech, they are beating up journalists.’‘ In addition, the opposition accuses the president of failing to enforce reforms to boost the country’s economy. The impoverished ex-soviet republic has been volatile since violent riots swept Bakiyev to power in 2005. The strategically placed central Asian state also hit the news earlier this year after it ordered the US to close a key military base used for operations in Afghanistan.