Thursday, November 02, 2006

Countdown to Kyrgyz “Maydan,” the Sequel? (Part I)

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Crowd in Alatoo square at protest during 1st anniversary of Tulip revolution this past March

By the time most of you are reading this, the opposition protests in Bishkek should have begun. According to several sources, Bakiyev had agreed yesterday to accept a new constitution that gives increased power to the parliament , but the opposition bloc “For Reform” wants to see it signed today in parliament in order to call off the protests that are scheduled to begin at 2:00 pm. The opposition also claims that several of the demands have not been accepted by the president, including the request to fulfill the president’s campaign promise to transform state broadcasting into public broadcasting.

Sources in Bishkek report that Bakiyev and Kulov were both in parliament this morning. The constitutional draft they presented to Bakiyev would have given the responsibility of forming the government to a parliamentary majority, but Bakiyev refused to sign it. If Bakiyev sticks to this line, it is likely that the protests will go through. At 9:45 am, reports say that 2000 police are in the square in Bishkek. The atmosphere is tense.

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