Once hailed as an "island of democracy," Kyrgyzstan now finds itself engulfed in political violence rooted in the government's attempt to stifle dissent. Security forces clashed with protestors March 17 in a remote area of southern Kyrgyzstan, leaving at least five dead and 61 people injured. Authorities in Bishkek blame government critics for inciting the violence. Political observers, however, warn that the government's policies have radicalized protestors, adding that the "era of peaceful protest is over."
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