Clashes in Kyrgyzstan kill 1, injure more than 30

Clashes in Kyrgyzstan kill 1, injure more than 30

The opponents exchanged gunshots, hurled stones and fought with sticks on a square in front of the regional government building in Jalal-Abad.Several hundred Bakiyev supporters, some with automatic rifles, holed up in the building overnight after capturing it yesterday evening, but backers of the interim government drove them out today after hours of tense confrontation.

Earlier in the day, the interim government's backers also ejected a pro-Bakiyev crowd that had occupied the regional government offices in Osh, about 70 kilometers from Jalal-Abad. The two parties threw rock at one another, but there were no serious injuries there.

Both cities are in Kyrgyzstan's south, the power base for Bakiyev, who was ousted April 7 amid clashes in the capital between government forces and protesters that left at least 85 people dead.

The prospect of further disturbances in the Central Asian nation will cause alarm in Washington and Moscow, which both have military bases in Kyrgyzstan.
The US Embassy in Bishkek voiced concern about the violence and urged parties to refrain from violence.

In Jalal-Abad, about 4,000 backers of the Ata-Meken party that supports the interim government arrived early today to try to evict the occupiers, but many dispersed when gunfire broke out, leaving a crowd of several hundred.

Some men in the approaching mob returned fire, while others fought with sticks. At least 1 person was killed and another 37 people hospitalised with injuries incurred in the clash, including five in critical condition, the Health Ministry said.During a second major wave of the gunfire exchange in the afternoon, an Associated Press reporter saw one man hit by a bullet in the shoulder.

While the provisional authorities are struggling to restore control over the entire country, the overwhelming number of interim government backers in today's clashes indicate they enjoy considerable popular support.