Kyrgyz president orders state of emergency in capital amid unrest

Kyrgyz president orders state of emergency in capital amid unrest

Kyrgyz President Sooronbai Jeenbekov declared a state of emergency in the capital, Bishkek, on Friday as unrest gripped the Central Asian country.

A curfew and tight security restrictions would be in effect from 8pm local time on Friday until 8am on October 21.

Jeenbekov’s order did not say how many troops would be deployed but they were instructed to use military vehicles, set up checkpoints, and prevent armed clashes.

The news comes hours after Jeenbekov signed an order dismissing Prime Minister Kubatbek Boronov and his cabinet on Friday.

Jeenbekov also offered to resign on Friday in an address published on the presidential website once a date for fresh elections had been set and changes in government had been confirmed by parliament and his office.

Opposition groups have quarrelled among themselves since seizing government buildings and forcing the cancellation of a disputed election result this week.

They made the first step towards consolidation, raising hopes of an end to the crisis, but thousands of their followers took to the streets at rival rallies that politicians said posed a danger of violence.

The opposition is divided between 11 parties which represent clan interests in a country that has already seen two presidents toppled by popular revolts since 2005.

The Central Asian nation has a history of political volatility – two of its presidents have been toppled by revolts in the past 15 years.

Russia has described the situation in Kyrgyzstan, which borders China and hosts a Russian military base, as “a mess and chaos”.

Moscow is the dominant foreign power in Kyrgyzstan and has attempted to broker internecine disputes in the past. But it was unclear if the Kremlin could help stabilise a fluid situation in the republic.

Stanislav Zas, the secretary general of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a Moscow-led security bloc, suggested that the bloc could play a “mediating role”.

The crisis tests the Kremlin’s power to shape politics in its former Soviet sphere of influence, at a time when fighting has erupted between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and Belarus is also engulfed in protests.