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Less Rioting In Kyrgyzstan As Situation Normalizes

Interim Kyrgyz leader Bakiev (file photo) Bishkek, 26 March 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Bishkek is reportedly quieter today, as police are patrolling the Kyrgyz capital in an attempt to stop a repeat of rioting the previous night.

Our correspondent has reported scattered gunshots and deserted streets. But he said late yesterday that the city appears to be returning to normal: "Apparently, it seems that police managed to retake control of at least parts of the city. Police patrols of two or three cars are circulating in the city center. So apparently the situation is normalizing."

Earlier yesterday, the country's outgoing parliament continued efforts to establish an interim government and set a date for new elections, following weeks of protests over parliamentary polls last month that the Supreme Court has ruled were fraudulent.

Opposition leader Kurmanbek Bakiev was named interim president as ousted President Askar Akaev reportedly issued a statement to the Kyrgyz news agency Kabar, saying he has not resigned and accused the opposition of carrying out an anticonstitutional coup.

Akaev's location has been unknown since 24 March, when opposition supporters took control of the presidential compound in Bishkek's center.

(Reuters, AFP, AP, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service)

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