Kyrgyz election: Protesters storm parliament over vote-smuggling allegations

Kyrgyz election: Protesters storm parliament over vote-smuggling allegations

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Media CitationThousands of protesters took to the streets of the capital, Bishkek

Protesters in Kyrgyzstan have entered parliament in the capital, Bishkek, demanding the cancellation of the country’s parliamentary elections.

The footage showed people throwing paper at President Soronbay Jinbekov’s office fees and through windows. Parts of the building caught fire.

The break-in comes days after a clash with police, who initially dispersed the crowd with water cannons and tear gas.

The clash comes amid allegations of vote-rigging in last Sunday’s election.

Following the vote, only four of the 16 parties passed the 7% threshold for entry into parliament, three of which have close ties with President Jinbekov.

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Opposition groups stormed a rally on Friday, removing hundreds of protesters by truck

On Monday, police used stun grenades to disperse thousands of protesters in Ala-Two Square, before following them into nearby streets.

But before the parliament building became known as the White House, protesters later flooded Central Square.

Video footage shared on social media showed protesters entering the complex, some pushing through fences and others pushing open the main door. Later, smoking can be seen outside the building.

The protesters said they would remain in Ala-to-Chowk until they met with political leaders.

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Thousands gather in Bishkek’s Ala-to Square amid allegations of vote-rigging

About 120 people were reported injured, half of whom were law enforcement.

The health ministry said in a statement that the condition of some people was serious, but that no deaths had been reported.

The protesters also freed former Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev, who was being held in the remand center of the state National Security Service, awaiting trial for corruption, the local Express News Agency reported.

Groups close to the president have been accused of buying votes and intimidating voters – according to international monitors, are “credible” and cause “serious concern”.

On Monday, the 12 opposition parties jointly announced that they would not recognize the results of the vote.

Later, President Jinbekov’s office said they would meet with leaders of all 16 parties participating in the election on Tuesday to reduce tensions.

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The two parties, which have close ties to President Soronbay Jinbekov, received 25% of the vote

Opposition candidates also called on the Central Electoral Commission to cancel the election results.

One candidate, Riskeldi Mombekov, told a crowd of more than 5,000,000 protesters on Monday: “The president has promised to monitor the election honestly. He has not kept his word.”

Mr Mombekov’s party, Ata McCann, was confident of entering parliament, but in the end it was one of eight parties that missed the threshold. Ata McCain leader Janar Akhiv was injured in the leg during a protest on Monday.

Protesters were also calling on President Jinbekov to resign.

Thomas Bozrep, head of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) election observation mission, said in a statement that although the vote was “generally streamlined”, allegations of vote-buying were “serious concerns”.

How the protest grew

Almaz Tichoroyev, BBC News, Bishkek

Police used tear gas grenades and a water cannon, stun st on demonstrators.

They first used force to disperse protesters in the main square, but police continued their pursuit as mobs infiltrated other streets in Bishkek.

Reports of injuries then surfaced – both among protesters and police. Among those injured was the Leader of the Opposition, General Archive.

Around 2,000 people were protesting in Ala-to-Chowk and the demonstration was largely peaceful for most of the day. But at about 20:10 local time (14:10 GMT), a small group of protesters left and marched on the Parliament House. When they got there, they tried to break down the doors.

This is why the police reaction started. પોલીસે કહ્યું હતું કે તેઓ શાંતિપૂર્ણ રહે ત્યાં સુધી વિરોધ પ્રદર્શનમાં દખલ નહીં કરે – પરંતુ આ એક ઉશ્કેરણીજનક કૃત્ય તરીકે જોવામાં આવ્યું હતું.

The protesters were initially dispersed, but later returned and successfully entered the parliament building.

The two leading parties, each receiving a quarter of the votes, were Birimdik and Meknim Kyrgyzstan.

Asilbek Jinbekov, the younger brother of President Jinbekov, is a member of Birimdik.

Meknim Kyrgyzstan, meanwhile, is believed to be closely associated with the powerful Matrymov family. The family’s figurehead, Ryambek Matreimov, was the target of an anti-corruption protest last year and is believed to have helped finance Mr Jinbekov’s successful 2017 presidential campaign.

Late on Monday, Birimdic announced that it would be open to re-run in Sunday’s election, and also invited other parties who had crossed the 7% threshold.

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