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Page last updated at 13:13 GMT, Friday, 9 April 2010 14:13 UK

Kyrgyzstan holds day of mourning for uprising victims

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Funeral for uprising victim in Bishkek

Kyrgyzstan is holding a day of national mourning for the victims of bloody protests which ousted the government.

The first funerals are being held for those who died in the unrest which forced President Kurmanbek Bakiyev to flee the capital.

Mr Bakiyev has refused to resign but has offered to talk to the opposition, which has set up an interim government.

But interim leader Roza Otunbayeva has said she has no plans to negotiate with Mr Bakiyev and demanded he stand down.

Both the US and Russia have key military bases in Kyrgyzstan, and are watching the situation there closely.

The US says it has now resumed normal operations at its Manas base after military flights were suspended on Wednesday.

The deputy head of the interim government, Almazbek Atambayev, has gone to Moscow "for talks on economic aid", the government said in a statement.

'Never forgive'

Thousands of mourners gathered in the main square of the capital, Bishkek, on Friday to remember those killed in Wednesday's violence.

AT THE SCENE
Rayhan Demytrie
Rayhan Demytrie
BBC News, Bishkek

Hundreds of people gathered in Bishkek at the scene of Wednesday's mass protests. A little shrine was set up by the main gates to the presidential office, known as the White House. Blood still stains the ground where the flowers were laid. People sat down for mass prayers. One mourner said that lots of young men had sacrificed their lives for the country and today they were being mourned.

Two days on, the situation in Kyrgyzstan is slowly getting back to normal. Many are referring to Wednesday's events as their own people's revolution. What they're hoping for most is that the new government will make better decisions, create more jobs and prioritise the nation's prosperity more than their own.

Many of them blamed the deaths on Mr Bakiyev, who has fled to the south of the Central Asian country.

"Bakiyev must be tried and executed for all these crimes," said Fatima Imanaliyeva, whose two friends were killed when security forces opened fire on protesters.

"We will never forgive him. This is our revolution," she told Reuters news agency.

Another woman, Khatima Immamaliyeva, said she was grieving over the "real heroes who have sacrificed their lives for the future of Kyrgyzstan".

"Bakiyev must bear responsibility for the deaths," she said.

The interior ministry said the city was quiet overnight, "thanks to operations carried out by the police, soldiers and volunteer organisations".

It said "special means and gunfire" had been used to deter looters and rioters.

Base query

The BBC's Rayhan Demytrie in Bishkek says there is now a more visible police presence on the streets of the capital.

But there is much cleaning up to be done in the city, after government buildings, shops and offices were ransacked and vehicles set on fire during the unrest, says our correspondent.

Map

Ms Otunbayeva has accused Mr Bakiyev's supporters of continuing to orchestrate "incidents of violence" around the capital.

The US embassy said it had closed its doors to the public but remained operational and was involved in "active discussions with all parties to encourage peaceful and orderly behaviour".

Ms Otunbayeva has said elections will be held in six months' time.

She has urged Mr Bakiyev to stand down, saying his "business in Kyrgyzstan is finished".

Mr Bakiyev is in Jalalabad in the south of the country, where he has strong clan support.

On Friday, he told the AFP news agency: "I have no plans to leave the country and I am not resigning from the presidency."

TIMELINE: KYRGYZSTAN UNREST
March 2005: Protests over disputed parliamentary election, dubbed the Tulip Revolution, lead to fall of President Askar Akayev; Kurmanbek Bakiyev appointed acting president and PM
July 2005: Mr Bakiyev elected president by a landslide
May 2006: Mass protests demand constitutional reform and more action to combat corruption
October 2007: Referendum approves constitutional changes, which the opposition present as a step towards authoritarianism
December 2007: Mr Bakiyev's Ak Zhol party wins parliamentary poll; opposition left with no seats
July 2009: Mr Bakiyev re-elected in vote criticised by monitors
January 2010: Opposition leader Ismail Isakov jailed for eight years for corruption, sparking opposition hunger strikes
April 2010: Clashes between police and anti-government protesters leave 75 dead

He says he is ready to hold talks with the new administration but one official told the BBC such talks were unlikely.

Mr Bakiyev also denied that he gave the order for security forces to kill protesters outside the government building, known as the White House, but said they had acted according to protocol.

"I am not the one with blood on my hands," he said.

Russia appears to have given its backing to Ms Otunbayeva's leadership - she has already held telephone talks with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Both Russia and the US have airbases in Kyrgyzstan, and their presence has been the focus of debate in recent months.

The US base at Manas is crucial to its operations in Afghanistan but its lease is due to expire in July.

One opposition leader, Omurbek Tekebayev, said Russia had "played its role in ousting Bakiyev" and that there was a "high probability that the duration of the US air base's presence in Kyrgyzstan will be shortened".

Washington has played down concerns over the future of the base, with a state department spokesman underlining its "existing agreement with the government of Kyrgyzstan".


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