BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan – Protesters clashed with police in Kyrgyzstan’s capital Bishkek on Monday during a demonstration against the results of a parliamentary election, with dozens of people injured.
Early election results gave a majority of votes to two parties with ties to the country’s ruling elites amid vote-buying allegations.
Subsequently, the Kyrgyz Attorney General said that the election result had been canceled, but no date was immediately set for a new vote. Local media reported that 12 parties had signed a document calling on the authorities to cancel the election results and organize a new one.
The election observation body of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said in a report on Monday that “fundamental rights and freedoms were generally respected” in this year’s elections in Kyrgyzstan, but that “the Credible vote-buying allegations remain a serious concern. “
Local news outlets estimated that around 4,000 people took part in the demonstration in Bishkek, with minor protests taking place in two other cities in Kyrgyzstan.
A video of the protest in Bishkek showed a group of young men trying to break through the gates of a government complex that houses both the Parliament and the presidential office.
The police moved to disperse the crowd in the evening, using water cannons, tear gas and grenades.
In the early hours of Tuesday, according to Reuters, protesters managed to break into the government and state security headquarters, local news sites Akipress and 24.kg reported. The protesters then released a former president, Almazbek Atambayev, and a few other former senior officials, according to local reports.
Preliminary results of Sunday’s elections, reported on Monday evening, showed that only five of the 16 parties in the ballot won seats in the Kyrgyz parliament.
The Birimdik party, considered pro-government, received over 26% of the votes. The Mekenim Kyrgyzstan party, linked to a former senior customs official, won more than 24 percent. Three other parties have crossed the 7 percent mark to get seats in parliament.
According to reports, the riots in Bishkek continued late into the night. Late Monday, Birimdik’s winning party said it was ready to take part in a new election, if one was scheduled, and urged other parties that won seats to do the same.
President of Kyrgyzstan Sooronbai Jeenbekov called for a meeting with the leaders of all 16 parties for Tuesday morning.