Political instability is encouraging inter-ethnic hostility in Kyrgyzstan. Some Bishkek schools and shops closed on April 20, a day after a pogrom shattered the peace in a suburb of the Kyrgyz capital. Some non-Kyrgyz residents are now saying they want to leave the Central Asian country.
Since the political unrest that forced former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev to flee Bishkek on April 7, squatters have grabbed land in Bishkek suburbs in a move mirroring events after 2005’s so-called Tulip Revolution. For the past five years, thousands have lived in suburban novostroyki, or new constructions, without ownership permits or rights to social services.
On April 19, hundreds of squatters attacked Meskhetian Turks living in nearby villages, reportedly seeking to take over farm plots. In Maevka, locals told EurasiaNet that 28 out of 80 Meskhetian homes were attacked, some burned to the ground. Riot police dispatched to Maevka arrested 130 marauders late on April 19, local media outlets reported. The violence claimed at least five lives and left 28 injured.
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David Trilling is the Central Asia news editor for EurasiaNet. Alina Dalbaeva contributed reporting to this story.