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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.
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."
Protesters attempted to ram an armoured vehicle stolen from police through the gates of the presidential administration. Reporters saw demonstrators carrying lifeless bodies away from the area as ambulances raced through the crowds picking up dead and wounded.
Krygyzstan plays a vital role in the war in Afghanistan because the United States uses an air base in Bishkek as a supply line for troop operations against the Taleban. Russia also has a military base in the former Soviet republic.