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Deadly Clashes Erupt in Southern Kyrgyzstan


Unrest in Kyrgyzstan erupted again on Friday as supporters of the interim government claimed to have retaken control over government offices in the southern city of Osh. At least one person has died and some 30 others were injured during violence that witnesses say involved gunfire and street battles with sticks and stones. Other protests were also reported in other parts of country.

The developments come just one day after key government buildings were taken by supporters of deposed President Kurmanbek Bakiyev. But backers of Kyrgyzstan's interim government say they regained control of the key buildings in the southern city, a traditional Bakiyev stronghold.

Pro-Bakiyev Protester Burul Seitova believes the demonstrations are necessary to bring Mr. Bakiyev back to power.

The Kyrgyz people are freedom-loving people, he said, and they shed their blood in 2005 and on April 7 of this year so as not to get this tyranny, this dictatorship. Kyrgyzstan needs free life and democracy, said Seitova.

In April, Mr. Bakiyev fled to Belarus, after at least 85 people were killed in demonstrations in the capital, Bishkek. His opponents say they were angry over what they called widespread corruption of Mr. Bakiyev's administration. They also demanded that he remove his many family members from office.

The interim government, led by former Foreign Minister Rosa Utanbayeva, dissolved parliament shortly after Mr. Bakiyev fled and promised to hold new elections in five months. But Kyrgyzstan remains tense as both sides fight for control.

Ousted Pro-Bakiyev Governor, Mamasadyk Bakirov says the main thing is to avoid clashes between people, to avoid provocations. But, he adds, there are no solutions yet.

Meanwhile, gunfire erupted Friday in Jala-Abad, another southern city in Kyrgyzstan. This as hundreds of interim government backers fought with Bakiyev supporters for key government buildings in the region.

Supporter Tolenbai Dukambayev wants Mr. Bakiyev back in office. The people are protecting their legitimate president said Dukambayev, and if they went out and broke the law, that is not anything he wants to be involved in.

The United States and Russia both have military bases in the former Soviet Republic and many analysts say further disturbances would cause alarm in Moscow and Washington.

The Kremlin has pledged monetary support for the country and is expected to send a top official to Bishkek.

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