Clashes Erupt at Trial for Ousted Kyrgyz Leader
Clashes Erupt at Trial for Ousted Kyrgyz Leader

Relatives of those killed in an April uprising in Kyrgyzstan clashed with police and called for revenge at the start of a trial for former Kyrgyz president Kurmanbek Bakiyev and 27 of his top allies.

The ousted president and his allies are charged with using deadly violence in an attempt to put down protests that ultimately toppled his government, forcing him to flee the country.  More than 80 people were killed during the uprising.  

Mr. Bakiyev is being tried in absentia, but relatives of the victims broke through police lines Wednesday, trying to reach the 22 defendants who were present.

The trial is being held at a Bishkek sports palace to accommodate the interest in the trial.

The head of the Citizens Against Corruption human rights center, Tolekan Ismailova, criticized the proceedings, calling the trial nothing more than a political show.

Kyrgyzstan has been plagued by instability since the deadly rebellion.

The new government in Kyrgyzstan has said Mr. Bakiyev and his allies ordered security forces to shoot at the demonstrators during the April protests.  Meanwhile, the country's newly-elected parliament convened for its first session just this week.

Nationalist party Ata-Zhurt, or Fatherland, emerged as the lead vote-getter in last month's elections, and is now leading talks to form a coalition government.

The United States, which operates a military air base in Kyrgyzstan to support the war in Afghanistan, has embraced the Kyrgyz effort to create the region's first parliamentary democracy.

Russia, which also has an air base in Kyrgyzstan, opposes the parliamentary model.

Riots broke out in June between ethnic Kyrgyz and minority Uzbeks in the country's south, killing hundreds of people and displacing some 400,000 others.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.