Police Fire on Protesters in Kyrgyzstan

Anti-government rallies sweep country; 17 dead
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 7, 2010 8:56 AM CDT
Police Fire on Protesters in Kyrgyzstan
Map locates Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, where police were seen shooting protesters angry over the arrests of opposition leaders.

Police fired into a swarm of thousands of protesters storming the main government building in the Kyrgyzstan capital of Bishkek today, killing at least 17 and wounding at least 180. Police first used tear gas and stun grenades to try to disperse the crowd, but turned to live rounds when that failed, the BBC reports. President Kurmanbek Bakiyev has declared a state of emergency.

Anti-government protests have broken out across the former Soviet state in response to Bakiyev’s repressive polices, according to Reuters. He’s been accused of corruption, jailing opponents, and election malfeasance. But Kyrgyzstan is a significant US ally; the US rents an airbase there, and uses it to support its operations in Afghanistan. (More Kyrgyzstan stories.)

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