Kyrgyzstan: Politician's Arrest Sparks Protests, Threatens Unrest
Kyrgyzstan’s government may with one arrest have contrived to revive the phenomenon of street politics — an increasingly rare sight in a nation exhausted by years of turmoil.
Hundreds of people turned out in the capital, Bishkek, on February 26 in rowdy protest at the overnight arrest of Ata-Meken party leader Omurbek Tekebayev on fraud and corruption charges. Tekebayev has denied the accusations, which his allies have described as politically motivated.
A large crowd concentrated around the headquarters of the State Committee for National Security, or GKNB, where Tekebayev was taken after disembarking from an international flight in the early hours of the morning. While there was much shoving between protesters and police, and the crowd reportedly tried to barge its way into the building on two occasions, no violence appears to have ensued. Tekebayev supporters holding a megaphone delivered speeches and were at one stage joined by Roza Otunbayeva, who served as interim president following the April 2010 revolution that culminated in the current president, Almazbek Atambayev, coming to power.
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