Kyrgyz President Flees

Opposition forms new administration in Bishkek
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 7, 2010 3:50 PM CDT

The government of Kyrgyzstan appeared to collapse today, as the president left the capital amid citywide riots. The opposition party announced it was forming a new government as chaos reigned in the streets. Riot police used live ammunition and tear gas on protesters, leaving at least 41 people dead and 350 wounded. Opposition figures put the death toll at 100. President Kurmanbek Bakiyev flew from Bishkek with his destination unknown, reports the New York Times.

Kyrgyzstan is important to the US because it has an air base used for operations in Afghanistan. While tensions have been building there for months, the spark that set off the most recent violence appeared to be a quadrupling of utility prices. The opposition party has taken over the national TV stations, and leader Omurbek Tekebaev used them to demand that all members of Bakiyev's Cabinet resign.

(More Kyrgyzstan stories.)

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