Kyrgyzstan president declares state of emergency

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Kyrgyz President Sooronbai Jeenbekov declared a state of emergency in Bishkek on Friday and ordered troops to deploy on the streets of the capital as unrest gripped the Central Asian country.

Jeenbekov’s office said in a statement the state of emergency, which includes a curfew and tight security restrictions, would be in effect from 8 pm on Friday until 8 am on Oct. 21.

His order did not say how many troops would be deployed but they were instructed to use military vehicles, set up checkpoints, and prevent armed clashes.

Kyrgyz President Sooronbai Jeenbekov. EPA-EFE/VYACHESLAV OSELEDKO / POOL

Earlier the president had said he was ready to resign once a new cabinet was appointed, as politicians sought a way out of a power vacuum that has prompted Moscow to talk about Russia’s obligation to ensure stability.

Opposition groups have quarrelled among themselves since seizing government buildings and forcing the cancellation of a disputed election result this week.

They made the first step towards consolidation, raising hopes of an end to the crisis, but thousands of their followers took to the streets at rival rallies that politicians said posed a danger of violence.

The opposition is divided between 11 parties which represent clan interests in a country that has already seen two presidents toppled by popular revolts since 2005.

Russia has described the situation in Kyrgyzstan, which borders China and hosts a Russian military base, as “a mess and chaos”.

The crisis tests the Kremlin’s power to shape politics in its former Soviet sphere of influence, at a time when fighting has erupted between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and Belarus is also engulfed in protests.

After forcing the cabinet to resign and the election commission to annul the results of Sunday’s parliamentary election, Kyrgyz opposition groups have so far failed to agree on who would lead a provisional government.

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