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Deadly riots in Kyrgyzstan challenge interim government

Ten days after an interim government overthrew the president in Kyrgyzstan, riots have killed several people and mobs are seizing ethnic minorities’ land and businesses.

Riot police form a police line near people who gathered at the settlement of Nizhnaya Alaarcha outside Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Tuesday.

Vladimir Pirogov/Reuters

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Unrest is spiraling in Kyrgyzstan, and growing ethnic strife is threatening the tenuous grip of the interim government that seized power in a bloody street revolt 10 days ago.

Days of rioting around the capital, Bishkek, have left several people dead and scores injured. Mobs of impoverished Kyrgyz have targeted businesses and land owned by other ethnic minorities, particularly Russians, for seizure.

In the country's volatile and ethnically diverse south, which was the home base of deposed President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, outright insurrection by pro-Bakiyev loyalists appears under way.

On Monday, Faizulla Rakhmanov, the governor of Jalalabad, a southern stronghold of the former president, told a rally of 1,000 supporters that they would soon move against the interim government in Bishkek. "We will restore Bakiyev’s rule," he said. "Bakiyev … will come back."

Mr. Bakiyev fled Kyrgyzstan last Friday and resigned his presidency after intensive international mediation. On Monday, he left his temporary exile in neighboring Kazakhstan for Belarus at the invitation of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.


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