Unrest Continues

Oct 7, 2020

Overnight on 5-6 October 2020, unrest continued in the capital Bishkek over allegations of vote buying and fraud during the 4 October parliamentary election. In the early hours of 6 October protesters stormed the White House government building — which hosts the presidential office — and set fire to the upper floors of the building. Protesters also occupied other government buildings, including the offices of the mayor of Bishkek and the prosecutor general. Opposition supporters also raided the headquarters of the State Committee on National Security and freed former President Almazbek Atambayev — who is was jailed on corruption charges — and a former parliamentarian. Earlier on 5 October, an estimated 5,000 protesters gathered in the city center area, demanding that the election results be annulled. Police officers fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse protesters who had gathered near Ala-Too square. Demonstrators later returned to the square and proceeded to enter the White House. According to the Ministry of Health, nearly 600 people were injured and one person was killed during the post-election unrest.

The unrest prompted the Central Election Commission to annul the election results, which showed that only four out of the 16 political parties — three of which are allied with President Sooronbay Jeenbekov — gained the 7% threshold required to secure seats in the 120-member unicameral legislature. None of the prominent opposition parties met the threshold, triggering the unrest. Despite the annulled election results, the overall security and political conditions in Kyrgyzstan are likely to remain highly tense — a situation exacerbated by the fact that President Jeenbekov’s whereabouts are currently unknown and the leader of the Ata Meken opposition party has announced that a special session of the parliament will be held on 7 October, during which opposition parties reportedly plan to announce a new president and prime minister.

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