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Page last updated at 12:47 GMT, Thursday, 8 April 2010 13:47 UK

Kyrgyz voices: 'Uncertain situation'

People in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek describe the dramatic events of the last two days and share their fears for the future of the country.

ROMAN KIM, 22, NGO WORKER
Roman Kim

I didn't take part in protests - I was busy packing my father's shop.

It's located in the downtown area close to the White House [government headquarters]. He sells household appliances.

The big protests five years ago ended up with chaos and lots of looting. We knew that we could expect something similar this time as well.

By 6pm everything was packed and loaded on the car. We couldn't rely on any trucks - truck drivers were afraid that they would be attacked by looters.

There weren't any store rooms available either. We had to move everything to our home. We are very much afraid that there's more to come.

There are rumours that lots of people are coming on trucks to Bishkek from neighbouring regions. People around me are afraid that these people want to take advantage of the current situation and everyone is vigilant.

I don't think anybody is in charge at the moment and we are very afraid - we expect more trouble

All the major stores have already been broken into and there's not much left to take. So there are fears that people looking to loot will move on to attacking people's homes.

The people of Bishkek are now creating volunteer groups to protect their businesses, coordinating their activities via SMS, Twitter and popular forums, like diesel.elcat.kg.

The city has been divided into five zones and people from different neighbourhoods are writing about what's happening where they are and what they can see from their windows.

I had a walk in my neighbourhood this morning and I noticed volunteers wearing white bands around their arms, holding hunting rifles. I don't have a rifle myself, but it's good to know that my neighbour does.

I don't see any police or army presence. We are being assured on TV and radio by opposition leaders that they've got everything under control, but I don't think anybody is in charge at the moment and we are very afraid. We expect more trouble.

BAKYT MUKAMBETOV, 21, STUDENT

Our family has a chain of small shops - one of them was looted last night. The situation from five years ago got repeated. Only this time it wasn't as bad as we expected it. People knew what to expect and were better prepared.

Scene of shooting in Bishkek's main square
Jorey Krawczyn, who took this photo, saw people being shot in Bishkek

Still, most of the government stores are empty. Our shop was completely destroyed and everything we sell - general food items, like milk and bread - is gone.

I stayed at home last night, following the events on the internet. I didn't want to protest. Yesterday's protesters didn't really know what they want.

Many people are happy with what happened to the president. They say he got what he deserved. And I agree with them.

Bakiyev is not the right person to run the country. There are rumours that he is in Osh now. He should be here, to face the nation, not run away like that. He is not a real man.

Things will get worse - now we are stuck with this division of power and there's lots of uncertainty

What happened yesterday was very bad and there are tough questions to be answered. I have relatives working in hospitals and they said that people were shot in the head or in the heart.

They were aiming to kill. This is wrong. If they wanted to disperse the crowds, they should shoot in the legs, not in the heads.

Five years ago we were expecting a big change, we thought that everything will be much better from then on and the future will be bright.

Five years on, nothing has changed. The people who come now, they are the same as the people who were here yesterday. Only, the situation was stable with this bad government of ours.

The government we are going to get now isn't going to be better than the previous one. Things will get worse. Now we are stuck with this division of power and there's lots of uncertainty.

ISKANDER ASANALIEV, DESIGNER, 26

I took part in protests last night. I was near the White House together with thousands of other people. I saw how protesters got hold of a tank, which they used to shoot at the White House.

Tear gas fired into the crowd in Bishkek
Jorey Krawczyn took this photo in Bishkek's main square on Wednesday

Then soldiers shot at the tank with their bazookas three or four times. There were explosions. There were injured people and then an ambulance came to take them.

I also saw protesters setting one of the government buildings on fire.

I went out today. Everything was closed, stores, supermarkets, everything. Nobody is going to work. I heard that our office building is damaged.

There is some looting going on, but it's not widespread.

The opposition claim to be in control, but you can tell that there's no law and order. Our opposition is so weak, nobody believes them.

The government ruled like a family mafia. There was lots of nepotism and corruption. That's why the people got angry.

People are very very angry that so many people were killed yesterday. We want an election right away, we want transparency.

BAHYTKUL BULEKBAYEVA, PROTESTER

I am now in the same place where I was yesterday - in front of the White House. There are many people here now. The building is badly damaged. I can see five cars on fire.

The situation yesterday was very tense. I stayed here all day yesterday. People from the military were firing at young people. Many young people died and hundreds were taken to hospital. I saw it myself.

The snipers shooting from government buildings' rooftops were not from my country. They were foreigners. I don't know where they come from.

People are angry today. Everybody is asking where the president is and why he fired at people.

My brother, Erkin Bulekbayev - leader of the Green Party, was freed after midnight together with three other leaders. They were jailed by this current president more than a year ago. They are finally free!



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