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Kyrgyz protesters seize government office

Kyrgyz protesters seize government office

Large crowds of angry protesters seized a local government building Tuesday in a northern Kyrgyz town and tried to take the regional governor hostage amid spiraling tensions in the impoverished Central Asian nation.
Activist Shamil Murat, of the For Democracy and Civil Society coalition, said around 1,000 people had surrounded the regional government office in Talas, and several protesters stormed the building.
Interior Ministry officials denied the government office had been seized, and said a drunken mob had entered the building and later left.
The mountainous nation of 5 million hosts a U.S. air base that supports military operations in neighboring Afghanistan and serves as an important transit point for coalition troops and supplies.
Crowds assembled in Talas early Tuesday to protest recently increased utility tariffs and to call for the resignation of regional governor Bolotbek Beishenbekov, town residents told The Associated Press.
Local media said the mob has named opposition politician Sherali Abdyldayev as the "people's governor" in place of the incumbent.
The activist Murat said the protesters had circled Beishenbekov, planning to take him hostage, but he was freed by special service troops.
Witnesses said another 500 people had gathered at the local police station in Talas. Protesters said security forces used tear gas and fired gunshots into air to disperse the crowd.
Opposition parties have organized several protests across Kyrgyzstan, and plan a mass rally Wednesday in the capital, Bishkek.


Updated : 2021-05-19 05:54 GMT+08:00