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Kyrgyzstan election: Fresh clashes as president declares emergency

Kyrgyzstan election: Fresh clashes as president declares emergency thumbnail

Publishedduration40 minutes agoimage copyrightReutersimage captionSupporters of rival political groups Kyrgyzstan have been protesting in the capital Bishkek’s streetsFierce clashes have taken place between rival protesters in Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek, after President Sooronbai Jeenbekov declared a state of emergency.Rival political groups fought in the streets and some protesters reportedly fired gunshots into the air.Unrest has gripped…

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image copyrightReuters

image captionSupporters of rival political groups Kyrgyzstan have been protesting in the capital Bishkek’s streets

Fierce clashes have taken place between rival protesters in Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek, after President Sooronbai Jeenbekov declared a state of emergency.

Rival political groups fought in the streets and some protesters reportedly fired gunshots into the air.

Unrest has gripped the Central Asian country since a disputed parliamentary election last Sunday.

A curfew and security restrictions are being imposed.

On Tuesday, demonstrators stormed the country’s parliament and clashed with police, demanding that a new vote be held.

President Jeenbekov, who earlier said he was willing to resign if there were a legitimate way of transferring power, ordered the state of emergency to come into effect at 20:00 local time (14:00 GMT) on Friday and last until 21 October.

The decree also gives permission to the army to deploy soldiers and military hardware to set up security posts in Bishkek.

The landlocked country, which borders China, was part of the Soviet Union until independence in 1991. It has a reputation for holding semi-free and fair elections in comparison with its neighbours, but uprisings in 2005 and 2010 swept previous presidents from power.

media captionThousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets of the capital Bishkek

President Jeenbekov said on Friday that he will step down when MPs appoint a legitimate cabinet and the rule of law is restored.

Protesters cannot agree on who should lead a new government and each group wants their own leader to become the new prime minister.

One group is backing former MP Sadyr Japarov, but opponents say his appointment violated constitutional norms.

On Friday four parties nominated a different candidate – Omurbek Babanov – who fled the country in 2017 after unsuccessfully challenging Mr Jeenbekov in a presidential election.

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