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Kyrgyzstan declares state of emergency in capital amid political chaos

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Kyrgyzstan’s President Sooronbai Jeenbekov speaks after voting in parliamentary elections in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on October 4, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)

Kyrgyzstan’s President Sooronbai Jeenbekov has declared a state of emergency in the capital, Bishkek, and ordered the deployment of troops to the streets amid clashes between the supporters of rival political groups.

“Today we are witnessing a real threat to our statehood,” Jeenbekov said while announcing the decision on Friday.

According to Jeenbekov’s office, the state of emergency, including a curfew and tight security restrictions, would go into effect at 8 pm local time on Friday and will run until 8 am on October 21.

The decree comes amid reports of clashes between protesters from rival groups in the capital.

Jeenbekov on Friday also told the army’s newly-appointed chief of staff to “take the situation under control” and maintain peace.

The country has been witnessing unrest since opposition groups seized power by storming the government compound in the country’s capital and getting the electoral commission to annul the results of parliamentary elections on Sunday, which they called rigged.

Two rival candidates for the post of prime minister, Omurbek Babanov and Tilek Toktogaziyev, reached a power-sharing agreement on Friday and were backed by ex-president Almazbek Atambayev, but their followers clashed with the supporters of another candidate, Sadyr Zhaparov, who were taking part in a demonstration nearby.

Separately, an aide to Atambayev claimed that the former president had survived an assassination attempt after his car came under fire in the capital on Friday.

The supporters of nationalist Sadyr Japarov, who has styled himself as prime minister, throw clumps of earth toward the supporters of former President Almazbek Atambayev as they attend a rally in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on October 9, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

President Jeenbekov also said on Friday that he was ready to resign once a new cabinet was appointed.

“I am ready to resign from the presidency as soon as the current situation is brought to a legal basis, all government agencies and the government are given authority, and the country is on the right path,” he said in a statement.

Kyrgyzstan’s parliament plans to convene in the Ala Archa presidential residence on the outskirts of the capital on Saturday to consider interim prime ministerial candidates, local news website Akipress quoted Aida Kasymaliyeva, a deputy speaker, as saying.

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