Protests erupt in Kyrgyzstan over parliamentary polls
Demonstrators unhappy with election results occupy presidential palace, parliament building
Protesters occupied the presidential palace and parliament building in Kyrgyzstan’s capital early Tuesday, angry over the results of weekend parliamentary elections.
Demonstrators clashed with police in Bishkek following vote-rigging allegations.
Riot police reportedly used tear gas, water cannons and stun grenades to disperse the crowd of over 5,000 protestors.
Demonstrators drove trucks toward the police, who retreated, and the protesters occupied the presidential palace and interior of the parliament building.
Over 100 people have been reportedly injured so far.
While some of the demonstrators remained at the presidential palace, others moved towards Ala-Too Square and a prison where political prisoners are held.
The demonstrators reportedly freed former President Almazbek Atambayev from the prison, which they occupied.
After midnight, the demonstrators headed to the detention center of the State Committee for National Security -- where Atambayev was held -- which is located close to the presidential palace.
After engaging in a brawl in front of the committee and breaking the entrance gates, the demonstrators stormed the building and released their ex-president.
Atambayev, who was taken out in a crowd and got into a car, is expected to address thousands of people waiting for him in Ala-Too Square.
On Monday, Kyrgyzstan’s election body announced the first official results of elections held Sunday to choose 120 new members of parliament.
According to the preliminary results, voter turnout was around 55% and four political parties out of 16 passed the 7% threshold to enter parliament: the Birimdik (Unity) party, Mekenim Kyrgyzstan (Homeland Kyrgyzstan) party, Kyrgyzstan Party and Butun (All) Kyrgyzstan party.
While current Parliament Speaker Dastanbek Cumabekov’s Kyrgyzstan Party kept its seats, the other three parties entered parliament for the first time.
Earlier, following the preliminary results, Turkey welcomed the peaceful holding of the parliamentary elections.
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