BISHKEK: Kyrgyzstan's opposition said today that it has taken over the government of the impoverished Central Asian state after at least 65 people were killed in violent protests that forced the president to flee the capital.
The violent unrest, which spread to Bishkek on Wednesday a day after protests in a provincial town, was sparked by growing discontent over corruption and rising prices in a nation where a third of the 5.3 million population live below the poverty line.
Meanwhile, the head of Kyrgyzstan's self-proclaimed government said President Kurmanbek Bakiyev had returned to his home region of Jalalabad in the south to rally supporters and defend his position.
"We want to negotiate his resignation," Roza Otunbayeva, who led opposition to Bakiyev's government, told reporters in Bishkek. "His business here is over."
"The people who were killed here yesterday are the victims of his regime," she said.