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Page last updated at 09:13 GMT, Monday, 12 April 2010 10:13 UK

Ousted Kyrgyz leader vows to defy arrest

Kurmanbek Bakiyev addresses supporters on 12 April 2010
Kurmanbek Bakiyev said he would fight efforts to arrest him

Ousted Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev has rallied his supporters, days after violence in the capital, Bishkek, overthrew his government.

Speaking to a crowd in his village of Teyit, Mr Bakiyev accused the interim government of acting like "gangsters".

He said any efforts to arrest him would end in bloodshed.

His comments came after the government's deputy leader said a "special operation" was being planned against him.

Almaz Atambayev accused Mr Bakiyev of "hiding behind a human shield" in his home region in the south of the country.

"We hope we can carry it out without the deaths of civilians," he said.

The interim government, which is led by critics of Mr Bakiyev's government, has told him to step down formally or face arrest.

'Seizure of power'

Mr Bakiyev was ousted last week in a day of violence in Bishkek that left at least 78 people dead and more than 1,600 injured.

A day of opposition protests erupted into widespread violence that forced the president to flee the capital.

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His appearance at the rally in Teyit, in Jalalabad, was his first in public since his overthrow. Reports from the scene say up to 1,000 supporters gathered to hear him.

"I am the president, and no one has the right or the authority to make me leave my position," the AFP news agency quoted him as saying.

"This is not a revolution, this is a seizure of power," he said.

Mr Bakiyev said government attempts to arrest him would result in "a great deal of bloodshed which no-one will be able to justify".

He said that he had asked a UN envoy to deploy peacekeepers "to prevent any further escalation of the situation".

Kyrgyzstan's interim government, led by former Foreign Minister Roza Otunbayeva, now controls the army and the police.

It has already sent a delegation to Moscow to seek economic aid.

Mr Bakiyev came to power after the Tulip Revolution in 2005. His critics accuse him of corruption, nepotism and increasing authoritarianism.



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