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Kyrgyzstan: Police Evict Occupiers From Supreme Court Building

  • Bruce Pannier --> Interim President and Premier Kurmanbek Bakiev Scores of people stormed Kyrgyzstan's Supreme Court building today and ejected a group of some 50 protesters who had occupied the building since April. Police and security agents were present and appear to have done little to prevent the eviction. The police have since secured the building and cleared it of all protesters.

Prague, 1 June 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Early today a crowd of about 300 people surrounded Kyrgyzstan's Supreme Court building in Bishkek. Inside about 50 people were continuing a protest they started in late April.

As law enforcement officers watched, the crowd outside suddenly rushed the building.

Those inside threw Molotov cocktails and stones at the oncoming crowd, to no avail. The crowd entered the building and proceeded to throw the protesters' possessions -- mattresses, clothing, and other objects -- out of the buildings' windows.

One of the protesters inside the building for the past several weeks was Kalychan Umaraliyeva. She said a group of people arrived yesterday outside the Supreme Court building and that protesters inside spoke with them and tried to explain what the purpose of the protest was.

"People appeared yesterday, there were fewer of them yesterday. They had some kind of demands and we [the protesters inside] said 'why have you come here?' None of them said anything. We explained to them what started this situation, why we were sitting here (inside the Supreme Court building), what our goals and interests were. We said we were for justice, we want to have a judicial system that satisfies the needs of the people not the desires of the rich."

Those inside the building were protesting the results of parliamentary elections held in February and March of this year. Their candidates were defeated in those elections or disqualified from running and their appeals were rejected by the courts.

International organizations monitoring the elections criticized the poll as unfair and, soon thereafter, when the second round was held in mid-March a popular revolt spread through Kyrgyzstan that led to the ouster of President Askar Akaev.

Akaev fled the country but the deputies elected in that unfair poll remained, as did judges appointed during the Akaev administration.

The protestors who occupied the Supreme Court Building had demanded the dismissal of Supreme Court Chairman Kurmanbek Osmonov and all other Akaev-appointed judges.

Osmonov offered his resignation a month ago but quickly said he had rethought that decision and would remain at his post at least until the 10 July presidential elections.

Umaraliyeva said that some of those in the crowd who evicted her and the others from the Supreme Court today are relatives of Osmonov. She also charged that the eviction had the support of top officials in the new government that replaced Akaev and is headed by acting President and Prime Minister Kurmanbek Bakiev.

"It's clear that Kurmanbek Ergeshavich [Osmonov] is not alone here, that there are certain forces backing him who are in the government, who are sitting in the [Kyrgyz] White House, and it's obvious that they organized [today's storming of the building]."

(RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service contributed to this report)