The appearance of the self-defense units is the second time this year that civil society has been forced to hold the line. Where the state repeatedly fails to live up to its obligations, volunteers step in.
The rapid ascendancy of Japarov, who was sprung from prison in the wake of a violent bout of rioting this week, has hinged entirely on a strategy of intimidation executed by hordes of aggressive supporters bussed into the capital.
Japarov and his supporters have shown little compunction in using violence to try and achieve their ends, although the events in Bishkek today easily outstrip anything that has happened in this crisis to date.
Thousands of election posters and billboards have cropped up across Kyrgyzstan ahead of the October 4 vote for parliament. Photographer Alimjan Jorobaev documents the curious dissonance between electioneering optimism and real life.