8 Apr 2010

Opposition claims control of Kyrgyzstan

8:45 pm on 8 April 2010

The opposition in Kyrgyzstan says it has dissolved parliament and taken power, after a bloody uprising forced the president to flee the capital.

Opposition leader Roza Otunbayeva, a former foreign minister, said the interim government was fully in control.

Ms Otunbayeva said President Kurmanbek Bakiyev had not yet resigned but was trying to rally support in the country's south.

Clashes in the capital, Bishkek and other towns on Wednesday left some 65 dead and more than 400 injured, the BBC reports.

It had spread to Bishkek, where demonstrators marched on the government headquarters, and another town, Naryn, after initially breaking out in the provincial town of Talas a day earlier.

There has been no official word from Mr Bakiyev - who came to power in a revolution in the central Asian state five years ago - since he was reportedly flown out of the capital to his home region of Jalalabad.

The scene in Bishkek on Thursday morning was calm, with the opposition apparently in control of the government headquarters.

Ms Otunbayeva said an interim government - which would remain in power for six months - was fully in control and had appointed new ministers.

Kyrgyzstan is a strategically important area which houses a key American military base that supplies forces in Afghanistan. Russia also has a base there.

The United States embassy in Bishkek and Russia have expressed concern and called for restraint. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said that his country had no connection with the unrest.