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Opposition supporters in Kyrgyzstan have stormed the offices of state radio and TV amid escalating unrest over rising fuel prices and corruption.
It comes after at least four people were killed in clashes between police and protesters outside President Kurmanbek Bakiyev's offices.
There are reports police fired live rounds after failing to disperse them with tear gas and stun grenades.
President Bakiyev has declared a state of emergency in protest-hit areas.
Ten people have been killed in an opposition rally in Kyrgyzstan, Russia's Interfax news agency reported Wednesday.
The news agency quoted Toktaim Umetaliyeva, a human rights activist who is among the protesters, as saying that 10 people have been shot dead. Repeated attempts to reach the president's office in Kyrgyzstan were unsuccessful Wednesday...
Personnel of the Russian airbase in Kant is given in high alert in connection with the riots in Kyrgyzstan, reports "Interfax quoted a source at the base. Currently, divisions of Russian troops remain neutral and not interfere in the events. However, layoffs and city output for the military canceled, enhanced protection of critical facilities.
Interior Minister of Kyrgyzstan Moldomus Kongantiyev, Vice Prime Minister Akilbek Kaparov and Governor of Talas region Beyshenbek Bolotbekov were taken hostage by the trouble-makers, who reportedly seized the arms and ammunitions at the building of the Office of Internal Affairs.
AFP's Matthew Siegel at Bishkek protests: "People said that they'd been shot" Anti-government protests in Kyrgyzstan have escalated violently, with 17 people killed as police clashed with demonstrators in the capital, Bishkek.
Kyrgyz Interior Minister and Vice Prime Minister taken hostage
nterior Minister of Kyrgyzstan Moldomus Kongantiyev, Vice Prime Minister Akilbek Kaparov and Governor of Talas region Beyshenbek Bolotbekov were taken hostage by the trouble-makers, who reportedly seized the arms and ammunitions at the building of the Office of Internal Affairs.
Riot police fought running battles with more than 5,000 demonstrators in the capital Bishkek as angry crowds demanded the resignation of President Kumanbek Bakiyev. Kyrgyzstan’s Health Ministry spokeswoman Larisa Kachibekova confirmed the casualty figures.
Kyrgyzstan’s Interior Minister Moldomus Kongantiyev was reported to have been killed by protestors in the north-western city of Talas, where riots first erupted yesterday
Radio Free Europe
Neighboring Uzbekistan reportedly increased security along its borders with Kyrgyzstan.
Kazakh authorities said they would take all necessary measures to reinforce security alongside the Kazakh-Kyrgyz border if the situation in the neighboring country escalated further.
"So far, the border is operating under its regular regime," Kenzhebulat Beknazarov. a spokesman for the Kazakh Committee for National Security, told reporters today. "However, the Kazakh border service is ready to take appropriate measures to reinforce the border if any threat to our national security occurs," he added.
Russia, which has a military base at Kant airport outside Bishkek, expressed concern about the ongoing tension in Kyrgyzstan. Moscow called on the Kyrgyz government not to use force against protesters to avoid bloodshed. The Interfax news agency quoted sources in Kant as saying Russian forces remain inside the base and that they had been put on a state of higher alert.
BANGKOK, April 7 (Xinhua) -- The anti-government "red-shirts" announced on Wednesday evening that they will continue protest in capital Bangkok though the prime minister declared a state of emergency, Thailand's Channel 9 Television reported.
After Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva declared the state of emergency in Bangkok, Nonthaburi, and some areas in Samut Prakan, Pathum Thani, Nakhon Pathom and Ayutthaya, "red-shirt" core leader Nattthawut Saikua announced the protesters will not leave their rally sites at Bangkok's Phan Fa Bridge and Ratchaprasong Intersection.
Moreover, the "red-shirts" have planned a mass rally on Friday in a bid to pressure the prime minister to dissolve the House of Representatives within 15 days.
The protest leaders have also urged the "red-shirts" in the country to stage a rally at provincial hall.
(Reuters) - Kyrgyz troops opened fire on anti-government protesters on Wednesday outside the offices where President Kurmanbek Bakiyev was sheltering from clashes that have killed dozens of people, a Reuters witness said.
A group of at least 10 government soldiers were shooting with automatic weapons from the government headquarters toward demonstrators, a Reuters cameraman said.
But a group of protesters, waving red-and-yellow Kyrgyz flags, arrived in the main square on an armored personnel carrier seized from the military.
Huge plumes of black smoke were billowing around the center of Bishkek, the capital of the impoverished Central Asian state of 5.3 million people. There was intense gunfire in the center of Bishkek and a series of blasts. Protesters were dragging wounded people covered in blood away from the square.
"There are dozens of dead bodies, all with gunshot wounds," Akylbek Yeukebayev, a doctor at a Bishkek hospital told Reuters.
Ex-Soviet Kyrgyzstan hosts a U.S. military air base that helps support troops in Afghanistan, as well as a Russian base.
Kyrgyz Prime Minister Daniyar Usenov, who earlier dismissed the protesters in Talas as "bandits," told Reuters by telephone that he and the president were both working in their offices.
"We daren't even look out of the window," Kamil Sydykov, the prime minister's spokesman, said by telephone from inside the presidential building.
Some 1,000 people stormed the prosecutor-general's office in the capital and were breaking windows and tossing out computers and office equipment, a Reuters reporter said. Opposition activists also took control of state television channel KTR.
"The political violence is likely to continue in Kyrgyzstan," said Lilit Gevorgyan, political analyst at IHS Global Insight. "Given (Bakiyev's) resolve in recent years to concentrate power in his hands only, it is difficult to see how a political compromise may be found."
Kyrgyzstan receives aid from both Russia and the United States as well as from neighboring China. Bishkek also relies on remittances from migrant workers in Russia; payments that have dwindled in the last year as Russia's economy has suffered.
"The country still has an inherent vulnerability which in an environment of economic dislocation can easily be sparked off into a new cycle of violence," said Christopher Granville of Trusted Sources Research in London.
"The drop in remittances is a very important part of the explanation for the latest civic violence," he said.
Protesters seized government buildings in three other towns. In one town, Talas, Kyrgyz First Deputy Prime Minister Aklybek Japarov and Interior Minister Moldomusa Kongantiyev were badly beaten. Kongantiyev was forced to shout: "Down with Bakiyev!," two witnesses said.
The opposition in Kyrgyzstan has been demanding that Bakiyev, who himself came to power in a popular revolt in 2005, tackle corruption and fire his relatives from senior positions.
Russia called for restraint. "We would like to make an urgent appeal to the hostile parties to refrain from the use of force to avoid bloodshed," Andrei Nesterenko, spokesman for Russia's Foreign Ministry, said in a statement.
The Kyrgyz government declared a state of emergency and said a curfew would be enforced between 8:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. in Bishkek and three other regions of Kyrgyzstan.
Bakiyev, from the south of Kyrgyzstan, has angered clans from Bishkek, Talas and other regions by appointing in his own kinsmen to senior positions, and excluding others from power, said Reinhard Krumm, director of a Moscow think-tank.
The protests spread to the capital after riots which began in Talas the day before and continued into Wednesday.
"We will stay here until the end, no matter what the government does," Talas Kadyraliyev, a 45-year-old local opposition activist, told Reuters from the scene.
In Naryn, a town in central Kyrgyzstan, more than 1,000 opponents of the president also took over the local government building, witnesses told Reuters. The government headquarters in a southern village, Kerben, were also occupied by protesters.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited Bishkek last week and called on the government to do more to protect human rights. Ban was shocked at the loss of life in Kyrgyzstan on Wednesday.
"The Secretary General is shocked by the reported deaths and injuries that have occurred today in Kyrgyzstan. He urgently appeals for dialogue and calm to avoid further bloodshed," Ban's spokesman, Martin Nesirky, said during a transit stop in Moscow.
(Additional reporting by Alexander Reshetnikov and Maria Golovnina in Bishkek and Conor Sweeney in Moscow; Writing by Robin Paxton; Editing by Jon Hemming)