News / Asia

Kyrgyzstan White House Site of Mass Memorial

Kyrgyzstan mourners in front of the country's White House, 13 Apr 2010
Kyrgyzstan mourners in front of the country's White House, 13 Apr 2010

A steady stream of mourners can be spotted in front of Kyrgyzstan's seat of government, where a violent clash last Wednesday between government forces and demonstrators left more than 80 people dead and led to the ouster of the Central Asian nation's president.

Throughout the day Tuesday, mourners continued arriving in front of the now abandoned Government House, also known as the White House, to add their contributions to a sea of flowers and pray for those who died here.

The front gates of the residence of the president - which is also the key government building - are covered with pictures of some of those who were gunned down. Just inside  the gates are burned vehicles and debris is piled on the front steps of the White House.

The interim leader of Kyrgyzstan, Rosa Otunbaeva, is working out of a third-floor room of the defense ministry. The former occupant of the White House, President Kurmanbek Bakiev, fled to his native village in the south of the country after government troops used deadly force against the civilians.

Hoping for Peace

Konushbaeva Jumagul lost her brother, shot by a sniper here, she tells VOA News. She rushed to Bishkek from her home in Naryn, the country's poorest province in the remote north, to honor his death.

She says she hopes the new leadership will bring prosperity and peace to Kyrgyzstan and there will be no more crying, no more tears in the future.

But here, at the traditional heart of power in this poor Central Asian nation, the tears continue to stream.  And, most mourners take their time to gaze up at the photographs of those who died in violence that, for the second time in five years, has brought Kyrgyzstan a change of government and a new period of uncertainty.

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