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Supporters Of Ousted President 'Seek Revenge,' Kyrgyz Prime Minister Warns


A woman mourns a victim of the violent revolt during a remembrance ceremony held at a cemetery in the village of Chon-Aryk.
Kyrgyzstan's prime minister has used the anniversary of the unrest that led to President Kurmbanek Bakiev's ouster to warn of possible "revenge" attempts by the former leader's supporters.

Almazbek Atambaev's remarks in Bishkek came at one of a series of commemorative services being held across the country to remember the nearly 90 people who died in last April's clashes.

Atambaev said certain political groups would try to stage protests in the coming days to take revenge and try to return Bakiev to power, a year after he fled Bishkek in the wake of the uprising.

And he accused some Kyrgyz lawmakers of allegedly being supporters and allies of the former president and his son Maksim, as well as those he called "criminal gang" leaders.

"When I look at some politicians in the parliament, I can see leaders of criminal gangs Kamchy Kolbaev and Aziz Batukaev behind them," he said. "I can also see Kurmanbek and Maksim Bakiev's ears protruding from behind [some lawmakers.] Dear compatriots, please, stay together! If the Kyrgyz will be divided, then we all will be eaten by 'wolves.'"

Atambaev made the remarks on Bishkek's central Ala-Too Square, where, on April 7, 2010, some 90 people were killed and hundreds more were injured when an antigovernment demonstration turned violent and security forces fired on protesters in front of the White House government building.

April 7 was the culmination of a series of smaller protests that had sporadically broken out in previous weeks across the country -- by people angered at rising energy prices, corruption, and Bakiev's increasingly authoritarian rule.

The Kyrgyz national anthem was followed by a minute of silence to honor those who lost their lives on the square a year ago.

Thousands of people gathered early in the day in front of Bishkek's Media-Forum building to mark the anniversary of the deadly political upheaval.

Ten yurts -- traditional Kyrgyz tents -- were erected in front of the building and ribbons with the names of the victims were tied to trees. Participants of the gathering – led by President Roza Otunbaeva -- then marched toward Ala-Too Square.

President Roza Otunbaeva (center), Prime Minister Almazbek Atambaev (right), and parliament speaker Ahmatbek Keldibekov pray at a cemetery in the village of Chon-Aryk.

Earlier, Otunbaeva and other officials laid wreaths and flowers on the victims' graves at the Ata-Beyit Memorial complex outside the capital.

"I am sure our nation will be able to overcome all the difficulties on the way to achieve Kyrgyzstan's prosperity," Otunbaeva said.

"Our people's unrest on April 7th showed that they will never tolerate a leader who would follow his own interests and who would work against his people," she said. "Let me honor those who participated in protests on April 7th one year ago."

Otunbaeva said the government will provide aid and support for victims' families.
On the eve of the anniversary, Otunbaeva took part in a ceremony where relatives of those who died in the violence were given the keys to small apartments in Bishkek. The Kyrgyz government built two residential buildings each containing 72 apartments for the victims' families.

Otunbaeva was appointed acting head of the interim government formed shortly after Bakiev fled Bishkek to his native village of Teyit in southern Kyrgyzstan.

Bakiev eventually left the country for Belarus, where he is currently based.

The transitional government went on to change the political system of the country, seeking to become the first parliamentary democracy in Central Asia. A referendum in June approved the country's new constitution.

Parliamentary elections in October, which failed to produce an outright winner, brought the current coalition government to power.

A ceremony at the Ata Beyit memorial complex devoted to the events of April 7, 2010.

With 28 parliamentary seats, pro-Bakiev political party Ata-Jurt is the largest party in the coalition. Atambaev's Social Democrat party holds 26 seats. The third member of the coalition is Respublika with 23 seats.

The unlikely coalition was formed after the Social Democrats attempted, but failed, to form a government with other political parties.

Some Ata-Jurt members said before the October 10 elections that they wanted to restore the presidential system and return Bakiev to power.

Special commemoration gatherings were also held in many Kyrgyz regions.

In the southern city of Osh, the center of deadly ethnic violence in June, local officials presented gifts to those who took part in the Bishkek uprising last year. They were also invited to lunch in a local restaurant, reports AkiPress reports.

written by Farangis Najibullah, based on reporting by RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service and local reports
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