Anti-Bakiyev Rally Gains/Feeds Supporters in Bishkek
Many have called Kyrgyzstan’s parliamentary winner, Ata-Jurt, the “Bakiyev party,” since several of its top officials served under ousted President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who fled in April after street riots left almost 90 dead.Since Ata-Jurt leader Kamchybek Tashiev reportedly said ahead of the October 10 vote that his colleagues were “the only ones who can bring Bakiyev back,” relatives of those killed in April (and assorted other hangers-on, now including parties that failed to win seats) have been rallying against Ata-Jurt taking its rightful place in parliament. An organizer from the group Meken Sheyitteri (“Homeland’s Martyrs”) told 24.kg that protesters are demanding the election results be cancelled. Yet the vote was praised by the OSCE and called the freest election in Kyrgyzstan’s history. On October 19, a surly crowd held yet another rally as riot police watched from a nearby park. Though organizers have told local press they are beginning a hunger strike, some were passing out food to participants (and seemed especially unhappy to be photographed in the act) – a tried and tested way to bolster support in Kyrgyzstan and keep the protest alive.
David Trilling is Eurasianet’s managing editor.