At least 70 injured during protests following parliamentary elections in Kyrgyzstan
Dozens of people were injured during clashes between protesters and riot police in downtown Bishkek, as demonstrators rallied against the results of Kyrgyzstan’s recent parliamentary elections.
The protests began on the afternoon of October 5. Up to 6,000 people joined the demonstrations, which were supported by the 11 political parties that didn’t get into the parliament. During the first few hours of demonstrations, police officers urged the crowd to disperse rather than using force to break up the rally.
Law enforcement began dispersing protesters when they moved towards the Government House and tried to force their way onto the property, breaking down the front gate. Riot police officers used special equipment, including stun grenades, tear gas, and water cannons, to break up the crowd. The protesters responded by throwing stones.
A reported total of 70 people were injured during the clashes, including the leader of the Ata Meken Socialist Party, Janar Akaev, who suffered a broken leg. According to police officials, at least two law enforcement officers were injured. Protesters overturned and set fire to garbage cans, and several cars were damaged in the city center.
By 11:45 p.m. local time, riot police had managed to clear the square in front of the government building completely. Most of the protesters scattered along nearby streets. Having dispersed the crowd, police officers began making targeted arrests.
Kyrgyzstan held parliamentary elections on October 4. According to preliminary data, only four parties passed the seven percent threshold needed to get into parliament. What’s more, the pro-government parties Unity (“Birimdik”) and My Homeland Kyrgyzstan (“Mekenim Kygyzstan”) won nearly half the seats in the parliament. The Unity party is known for its close ties to Kyrgyzstani President Sooronbay Jeenbekov, while My Homeland Kyrgyzstan is associated with the Matraimov clan, which is considered one of the most powerful families in the country.
Against the backdrop of the opposition demonstrations, the President of Kyrgyzstan announced plans to meet with the leaders of all political parties that ran in the parliamentary elections on Tuesday, October 6.
Translation by Eilish Hart