2020 Kyrgyzstani protests

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2020 Kyrgyzstani protests
Протесты в Бишкеке 2020.jpg
Date5 October 2020 (2020-10-05) - 15 October 2020 (2020-10-15) (1 week and 3 days)
Caused by
  • Resignation of President Sooronbay Jeenbekov
  • Resignation of the government
  • Dissolution of the newly-elected parliament
  • New free and fair elections
MethodsDemonstrations, civil disobedience
Resulted in
Parties to the civil conflict

Kyrgyzstan Government of Kyrgyzstan

Lead figures
Kyrgyzstan Sooronbay Jeenbekov Саясий партиясы «Республика» (логотип).svg Ömürbek Babanov

Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayev

Лого партии Ата-Мекен.svg Tilek Toktogaziev
Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Japarov

The 2020 Kyrgyzstani protests began on 5 October 2020 in response to the 2020 parliamentary election that was perceived by protestors as unfair.[6][7] The results of the election were annulled on 6 October 2020.[8] On 12 October 2020, President Jeenbekov announced a state of emergency in the capital city of Bishkek,[9] which was approved by Parliament the following day.[10] Jeenbekov resigned on 15 October 2020.[11]

Background[edit source | edit]

Kyrgyzstan had faced two revolutions during the early 21st century, including the Tulip Revolution in 2005 and the Kyrgyz Revolution of 2010.[12] In August 2020, Kyrgyz President Sooronbay Jeenbekov indicated that the parliamentary elections would not be postponed despite the coronavirus pandemic.[13] During the elections, several parties were accused of buying votes.[14] Several journalists also reported that they had been harassed or attacked.[15] Out of the parties that made it into parliament, only United Kyrgyzstan consistently opposes the incumbent government led by Jeenbekov.[16]

Political analysts have tied the 2020 protests to a socio-economic divide between Kyrgyzstan's agrarian south and more-developed north. Of the initial election results, 100 of the 120 seats were filled by southerners who supported Jeenbekov.[17]

Timeline[edit source | edit]

5 October[edit source | edit]

The protests began on 5 October 2020, with a crowd of 1,000 people,[6] that grew to at least 5,000 people by evening in Bishkek (the capital of Kyrgyzstan) in protest against results and allegations of vote-buying in the 2020 parliamentary election.[7] After nightfall, following a police operation to clear the Ala-Too Square of protesters with tear gas and water cannons, protesters allegedly attacked police officers with rocks and injured two of them.[18][19] Former President Almazbek Atambayev was freed from prison.[20]

6 October[edit source | edit]

In the early morning of 6 October 2020, the protesters reclaimed control of the Ala-Too Square in central Bishkek.[21] They also managed to seize the White House and Supreme Council buildings nearby, throwing paper from windows and setting them on fire,[2] also entering the President's offices. A protestor died and 590 others were injured.[22]

On 6 October, following the protests, the electoral authorities in the country annulled the results of the parliamentary elections.[8] Central Election Commission member Gulnara Jurabaeva also revealed the commission was considering self-dissolution.[23]

In the meantime, opposition groups claimed to be in power after seizing government buildings in the capital, in which several provincial governors have reportedly resigned.[2] President Sooronbay Jeenbekov said that he faced a coup d'état,[2] then he told the BBC, that he was "ready to give the responsibility to strong leaders".[24]

Protestors freed former president Almazbek Atambayev and opposition politician Sadyr Japarov from prison.[25][26]

Likely due to pressure from the protest, Prime Minister Kubatbek Boronov resigned, citing parliamentary deputy Myktybek Abdyldayev as the new speaker.[27]

7 October[edit source | edit]

Opposition parties were unsuccessful at forming a new government on Wednesday, 7 October. Following the resignation of Prime Minister Boronov, former lawmaker Sadyr Japarov was appointed to replace him. Opposition parties rejected the legitimacy of Japarov's status and instead put forward their own candidate for prime minister, Tilek Toktogaziyev. Japarov claimed that he was already the "legitimate prime minister" and that he was appointed by "the parliament's majority." Boronov's resignation, however, had yet to be confirmed by President Jeenbekov, and government websites continued to list him as the prime minister on 7 October.[28]

Crowds gathered to protest the nomination of Japarov and demand the resignation of Jeenbekov. According to the Ministry of Healthcare, no fewer than 768 people injured during the protests have been treated by the country's hospitals and clinics as of Wednesday morning.[29] According to Reuters, at least three distinct groups have now attempted to claim leadership.[30]

Meanwhile, Kyrgyz parliamentarians launched impeachment procedures against Jeenbekov, according to a parliamentarian from the opposition party Ata-Meken, Kanybek Imanaliev.[31]

9 October[edit source | edit]

Jeenbekov declared a state of emergency, ordering troops to deploy in Bishkek. The declaration imposes a 12-hour curfew until October 21.[32] Gunfire was heard during violent clashes in Bishkek that broke out after Jeenbekov's declaration.[33] Jeenbekov formally accepted Boronov's resignation.[34]

10 October[edit source | edit]

Kyrgyzstani special forces detained former President Almazbek Atambayev in a raid on his compound.[35] Former Member of Parliament Sadyr Japarov, who was freed from prison on October 5 by protesters, was nominated as interim Prime Minister by Parliament.[36]

12 October[edit source | edit]

A second state of emergency was declared by President Jeenbekov in Bishkek from 12 October to 19 October.[9][37] Opposition parties announced their intentions to oust Jeenbekov; Jeenbekov stated that he would consider resigning, but only after the political crisis is resolved. A curfew was put in place, in effect from 10 pm to 5 am. Convoys of troops from the Kyrgyz military were sent into the capital city to control the situation.[37]

13 October[edit source | edit]

Kanat Isaev was elected as the new Speaker of the Supreme Council, as there were no other candidates seeking the position.[38] Parliament endorsed Jeenbekov's second declaration of a state of emergency, after previously rejecting his first.[10] President Jeenbekov formally rejected the nomination of Sadyr Japarov to the position of Prime Minister.[39]

15 October[edit source | edit]

Sooronbay Jeenbekov resigned as President of Kyrgyzstan in an attempt to end the political unrest, while also stating that he "Calls on Japarov and the other politicians to withdraw their supporters out of the capital of the nation and to return the people of Bishkek to peaceful lives".[40][41] Japarov delcared himself as acting president.[11][42][43] Despite the Kyrgyzstan Constitution stating that the speaker of the Supreme Council should succeed the role, Kanatbek Isaev refused to assume office, resulting in Japarov becoming the acting president.[44][45]

Reactions[edit source | edit]

China[edit source | edit]

On 7 October, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said, "As a friendly neighbor and comprehensive strategic partner, China sincerely hopes that all parties in Kyrgyzstan can resolve the issue according to law through dialogue and consultation, and push for stability in Kyrgyzstan as soon as possible."[46]

Russia[edit source | edit]

On 7 October, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed that Russia is concerned by the political unrest taking place in nearby Kyrgyzstan and hoped for a swift return to stability. Russia also gave assurances it was in touch with all the sides in the conflict and hoped that the democratic process would be restored.[47] On 8 October, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said "The situation looks like a mess and chaos." and Russia was obliged by a security treaty to prevent a total breakdown in the country.[48]

European Union[edit source | edit]

The European Union called on all political forces in the country to act within the framework of the constitution and to settle their disagreements peacefully.[49]

United States[edit source | edit]

The U.S. Embassy in Bishkek expressed support for Jeenbekov, stating on 13 October that "the United States supports the efforts of President Jeenbekov, political leaders, civil society, and legal scholars to return the political life of the country to a constitutional order. It is clear that one of the obstacles towards democratic progress is the attempt by organized crime groups to exert influence over politics and elections."[39]

See also[edit source | edit]

References[edit source | edit]

  1. Leonard, Peter. "Kyrgyzstan: Taking power one building at a time". Eurasianet. Retrieved 9 October 2020.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "Opposition in Kyrgyzstan claims power after storming government buildings". Reuters. 6 October 2020.
  3. "Смена власти в Кыргызстане. День третий". Медиазона (in Russian). 7 October 2020. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  4. "Kyrgyzstan crisis: No clear leadership after days of unrest". Al Jazeera. 8 October 2020. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  5. "Kyrgyzstan election: Protesters storm parliament over vote-rigging claims". BBC. 6 October 2020.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Pannier, Bruce. "Backlash Against Kyrgyz Parliamentary Election Results Comes Instantly". Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty. RFE/RL, Inc. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Thousands protest over Kyrgyzstan election result". 5 October 2020. Retrieved 5 October 2020 – via BBC News.
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Kyrgyzstan election: Sunday's results annulled after mass protests". BBC. 6 October 2020.
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Kyrgyz president declares new state of emergency". AP NEWS. 12 October 2020. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  10. 10.0 10.1 News, A. B. C. "Parliament in Kyrgyzstan endorses state of emergency". ABC News. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Kyrgyzstan president Jeenbekov resigns after unrest". Reuters. Retrieved 15 October 2020.
  12. Azamat Temirkulov (29 July 2010). "Kyrgyz "revolutions" in 2005 and 2010: comparative analysis of mass mobilization". Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  13. "No Coronavirus Postponement And No Front-Runners So Far In Kyrgyz Elections". 7 August 2020. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  14. Namatbayeva, Tolkun (5 October 2020). "Monitors decry vote-buying in Kyrgyz parliamentary vote". AFP. Retrieved 6 October 2020 – via Yahoo!.
  15. Furlong, Ray (4 October 2020). "Videos show apparent vote-buying in Kyrgyz elections". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Retrieved 4 October 2020.
  16. Ovozi, Qishloq (3 October 2020). "Kyrgyzstan: A Guide To The Parties Competing In The Parliamentary Elections". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  17. Ivan Nechepurenko (7 October 2020). "Kyrgyzstan in Chaos After Protesters Seize Government Buildings". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  18. Staff, Reuters (5 October 2020). "Kyrgyz police use teargas, water cannon to disperse protesters". Retrieved 5 October 2020 – via Reuters.
  19. "Protests in Kyrgyzstan over alleged vote rigging". Al Jazeera English. 5 October 2020. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  20. "Opposition in Kyrgyzstan claims power after storming government buildings". CNN. 6 October 2020. Protesters then broke into the headquarters of the State Committee on National Security and freed former president Almazbek Atambayev, who was sentenced to a lengthy prison term this year on corruption charges after falling out with Jeenbekov, his successor.
  21. "Демонстранты полностью контролируют площадь «Ала-Тоо»". Радио Азаттык (Кыргызская служба Радио Свободная Европа/Радио Свобода) (in Russian). Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  22. "Protesters seize Kyrgyzstan's seat of government: Reports". The Straits Times. 6 October 2020.
  23. "ЦИК Киргизии признал прошедшие парламентские выборы недействительными" (in Russian). 6 October 2020. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  24. "Kyrgyzstan election: Embattled president hints he may stand down". BBC. 6 October 2020.
  25. "Kyrgyzstan election: Protesters storm parliament over vote-rigging claims". BBC. 6 October 2020.
  26. Reuters, Story by. "Protesters and vigilantes scuffle in Kyrgyzstan capital as political crisis festers". CNN. Archived from the original on 9 October 2020. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  27. "Kyrgyz PM Boronov resigns, new speaker named - report". National Post. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  28. "Kyrgyzstan opposition divided amid political chaos, protests". www.msn.com. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  29. "Смена власти в Кыргызстане. День третий". Медиазона. Центральная Азия (in Russian). 7 October 2020. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  30. "Kyrgyz opposition groups make rival power grabs after toppling government". Reuters. 7 October 2020. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  31. "Kyrgyz Parliamentarians launch impeachment procedure against President Jeenbekov". nation.com.pk. 7 October 2020.
  32. Olga Dzyubenko (9 October 2020). "Kyrgyzstan president declares state of emergency". Reuters. Retrieved 9 October 2020.
  33. "Gunfire reported in Kyrgrz capital amid deep political crisis". Al Jazeera. 9 October 2020. Retrieved 9 October 2020.
  34. "Amid political crisis, Kyrgyz president accepts PM's resignation". Al Jazeera. 9 October 2020. Retrieved 9 October 2020.
  35. "Kyrgyzstan unrest: Ex-president rearrested as power struggle deepens". BBC. 10 October 2020.
  36. Higgins, Andrew. "A Convicted Kidnapper Is Chosen to Lead Government of Kyrgyzstan". New York Times.
  37. 37.0 37.1 "Kyrgyzstan's president declares new state of emergency amid mass protests". PBS NewsHour. 12 October 2020. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  38. "Kanat Isaev elected Kyrgyz parliament speaker". TASS. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  39. 39.0 39.1 "Kyrgyz President Rejects Parliament's Decision On New Prime Minister". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  40. "Kyrgyzstan's president steps down amid political unrest". The Guardian. 15 October 2020. Retrieved 15 October 2020.
  41. "События - Официальный сайт Президента Кыргызской Республики". www.president.kg. Retrieved 15 October 2020.
  42. Ilyushina, Mary (15 October 2020). "Kyrgyzstan president Jeenbekov resigns after unrest". CNN. CNN, Reuters. Archived from the original on 16 October 2020. Retrieved 15 October 2020.
  43. "Kyrgyz PM Declares 'All Power In My Hands' After President Resigns". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. 15 October 2020. Retrieved 15 October 2020.
  44. "Спикер парламента Кыргызстана отказался стать и.о. президента". www.ukrinform.ru (in Russian). 15 October 2020. Archived from the original on 16 October 2020. Retrieved 15 October 2020.
  45. "Seizure of Kyrgyzstan nears completion as president steps down | Eurasianet". eurasianet.org. 15 October 2020. Archived from the original on 16 October 2020. Retrieved 15 October 2020.
  46. "China calls for stability in Kyrgyzstan amid protests". Anadolu Agency. 7 October 2020. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  47. "Russia, China call for calm in Kyrgyzstan chaos". Reuters. 7 October 2020. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  48. "Russia says Kyrgyzstan is in chaos and needs stabilising". Reuters. 8 October 2020. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  49. "EU 'takes note' of failed elections in Kyrgyzstan". 6 October 2020.

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