Kyrgyzstan: State of emergency declared as clashes escalate

BBC News

Anti-government protests in Kyrgyzstan have escalated violently, with 17 people killed as police clashed with demonstrators in the capital, Bishkek. Protesters attacked President Kurmanbek Bakiyev's offices and stormed the state TV and radio headquarters, taking them briefly off air. There are reports police fired live rounds after failing to disperse people with tear gas and stun grenades. President Bakiyev has declared a state of emergency in protest-hit areas.

The unrest broke out in the provincial town of Talas on Tuesday and spread to the capital, Bishkek, and another town, Naryn, on Wednesday.

In Bishkek, protesters attempted to storm the president's office but were held back by security forces, who reportedly fired live rounds into the crowd.

The health ministry and an opposition leader said 17 people had been killed in the clashes in Bishkek.

Dozens more people were reported to be injured, many with bullet wounds.

State media and television went off air briefly after protesters stormed their offices but resumed broadcasting under government control.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010 13:41 UK