ISN SECURITY WATCH (24/03/05) – The whereabouts of Kyrgyz President Askar Akaev remained unknown after thousands of protesters stormed the government headquarters in the capital Bishkek on Thursday morning, demanding the president’s resignation.

    Footage of the protests on CNN showed no violence and no real attempt by police to stop the rebellion. New York Times reporter Christopher Pala told CNN during a live broadcast of the protests that Akaev had ordered police and military not to use any force whatsoever.


    Some observers believe that Akaev may be prepared to walk away from the situation. Others warn that Akaev is very intelligent and respected, including among a large portion of the population, and that his order to refrain from using force could be an attempt to preserve his legacy as a man who has managed to maintain relative stability in otherwise volatile Central Asia.


    Pala said he was not surprised that Akaev had opted not to use force to quash the protests, saying that the Kyrgyz leader is by comparison the most liberal of Central Asia’s authoritarian leaders, and that the opposition had Akaev to thank for its existence – as it would not have been allowed to flourish in neighboring Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, or Turkmenistan.

    So far, the so-called revolution in Kyrgyzstan has been relatively peaceful, with riot police breaking up a protest rally in Bishkek on Wednesday, but otherwise showing restraint.

    obender71    24 03 2005 - 14:23    #

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