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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 November 2006, 12:57 GMT
Voices from Bishkek protest rally
Thousands of people have gathered in Kyrgyzstan's capital, Bishkek, to call for the resignation of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev.

People attending the rally described the scenes in Bishkek's central square and warned that violence could unfold later in the day.


BAKYT TULPAROV, FASHION DESIGNER AND SHOP OWNER

Bakyt Tulparov
Bakyt Tulparov is worried about his shop being vandalised

I have been to the demonstration and I saw thousands of people there. But it was really scary for me. There were drunk people around and I have to confess that in our city, many people panic.

So the potential for violence is there.

There is not much public transportation. Some people are too scared to come out. Last year many shops and offices were vandalised. Now, people think the same could happen again.

I own a shop in a trade centre and so after attending the early part of the demonstration I came to my shop. I will stay here till tomorrow morning because there is the possibility that somebody will attack and destroy our trade centre.

There aren't any policemen or militia around. I think they are already in the central square.

I have been to the demonstration... it was really scary for me. There were drunk people around
Bakyt Tulparov
The problem there is real because demonstrators from both sides are present. There are many different groups gathering, not just opposition supporters. People from rural areas have come to Bishkek and I have seen some people on horses. It feels very risky to be out.

But I agree with the demands of the demonstrators. Our president made many promises. He is not a good politician and he is not interested in our future or development. Many of the people who have come from remote areas have real grievances.

There are many worrying developments. The internet is getting difficult to access. Kazakhstan has closed the border with Kyrgyzstan now. But that happens every time we have such a gathering.

IRINA MARTACOVA, TOUR GUIDE

Irina Martacova
Irina Martacova heard many opposition speeches at the rally

When I was at the gathering, everything was fine. Thousands of people have come from all over the country.

I heard a speech by one woman from the Issik-Atinskii region. Her name was Anara. She told people that one year ago she gave her voice for Bakiyev and that she had great hopes of him. But life has changed since then, become much worse. She is here now to give her voice again - but for a new president.

Many people have questions for Bakiyev. But the biggest question to him is why he hasn't made the necessary constitutional reform.

The atmosphere is peaceful on the whole. People at the demonstration look happy. There are children, students, teenagers, and old people there, people of different generations. I didn't' see many policemen or soldiers.

Some are holding red strips of material in their hands as a reminder of the tulip revolution of last year. Others have papers with the words: "Bakiyev, go away!"

To be honest, I don't think many people really understand what they are doing. It seems to me that some of the country people have been given money by the opposition to come and demonstrate.

Photograph sent in by Ak-Moor Janbolotova
Demonstrators brought red flags as a reminder of the Tulip Revolution
I talked to two people who told me they wanted to have a parliamentary government and not Bakiyev. I asked them why and they said they did not know. And later they asked me if it is was true that people could get money here.

I support President Bakiyev. I wasn't for him earlier, but then I thought more about our government and realised our country wasn't in a good condition. I think he needs time to change things, and that he tries to help people.

Maybe in five or 10 years, Kyrgyzstan will look a very different place.

ANONYMOUS, NGO WORKER

People are chanting and supporting the opposition leaders. They want President Bakiyev to resign. It is not violent so far, not yet. But I have concerns because supporters of the president are also present and they are quite aggressive.

Some members of parliament have now left the state building and joined the demonstration. I saw a couple of attempts to start fights with opposition supporters. There are also undercover police roaming about. The opposition leaders are trying to get people to sing songs to make it a cheerful event - but we'll see what happens.

I think if something does happen, it will happen later.

Photograph sent in by Ak-Moor Janbolotova
Thousands have gathered at Bishkek's central square
I support what the opposition is doing but I think a resignation would be even worse than the current situation. The problem is the situation could get out of control.

Neither the president or the opposition leaders can control civil society in Kyrgyzstan even though they claim they do. That's the most dangerous thing.

There was a triple murder yesterday night. Top criminals and gangs are involved in the underground violence. There are too many problems around for people to control.




SEE ALSO
Kyrgyz protesters call for change
02 Nov 06 |  Asia-Pacific



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