News / Asia

Victims of Government Shooting Buried in Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan is observing a period of mourning for the 79 people believed to have been killed by government forces Wednesday. The clash appears to have driven from power President Kurmanbek Bakiyev. A mass funeral, attended by leaders of the self-proclaimed interim government, has been held near the capital.

An imam is uttering the opening declaration of prayer here at the funeral for some of those killed in Wednesday's clash between government troops and demonstrators.

About 15 caskets draped in the red-and-yellow Kyrgyz flag have been brought to this outdoor memorial complex which honors those executed in the 1930s under orders of Soviet leader Josef Stalin.

Now it is a new generation of dead being hailed as Kyrgyz nationalist martyrs.

Leaders of the self-proclaimed interim government have spoken here, vowing to establish democracy and justice and not to allow those who confronted forces loyal to the President to have died in vain.

Now the bodies, draped in simple white cloth, are being removed from the caskets and some men have stepped into the freshly dug graves to help gently lower the bodies into their final resting places, here about 20 kilometers from the capital, Bishkek.  

Family members of the dead are watching, some in tears, along with thousands on the scene, including some soldiers, and hundreds of thousands more across the remote mountainous country are viewing it on television.

This is certain to become a highly symbolic event in the young history of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan.

Another day of national mourning is planned Sunday.

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