Kyrgyz troops break up antigovernment rally
BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan — Kyrgyz forces fired live ammunition, tear gas, and stun grenades into the air to disperse hundreds of antigovernment protesters yesterday and arrested their leader, raising fears of new instability in the turbulent central Asian nation.
Some of the 27 protesters arrested are being investigated on suspicion of “attempting to seize power,’’ government spokesman Farid Niyazov said. There was no immediate word on casualties.
The confrontation demonstrated that tensions in Kyrgyzstan remain high four months after President Kurmanbek Bakiyev was ousted and fled the country after a bloody revolt over alleged corruption.
Breaking up yesterday’s protest could bolster the interim government’s confidence that it can fend off similar uprisings, despite ethnic rampages in June in which hundreds of minority Uzbeks were killed.
Kyrgyzstan’s security chief, Keneshbek Duyshebayev, said authorities arrested Urmat Baryktabasov, who leads the obscure Mekin-Tuu political party, which is financed by Bakiyev’s family.
The unrest yesterday began in the capital, Bishkek, when about 1,000 supporters of Baryktabasov gathered outside Parliament to denounce the interim leadership and insist the country is not ready for parliamentary elections scheduled for October.