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Election Protests in Kyrgyzstan and Belarus

Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan —

Yesterday, Kyrgyzstan was rocked by extreme protests over the results of Sunday’s elections. In Belarus, protesters are still turning out regularly to protests the results of August’s elections. Today NFK looks at the situation in both countries.

Election Protests Force Big Changes in Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan held elections for parliament on Sunday. There were many reports that the elections were unfair. Some reports suggested that people were paid for their votes.

On Monday, after the results were announced, huge protests broke out in the country’s capital, Bishkek. Many cars and buildings were damaged in the fighting between protesters and police. Nearly 700 people were hurt.

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On Monday, after the election results were announced, huge protests broke out in the country’s capital, Bishkek. Many cars and buildings were damaged in the fighting between protesters and police.

When more protesters arrived, they attacked and took over several important government buildings. They have also forced other big changes.

Politics in Kyrgyzstan are extremely complicated. The current president is Sooronbay Jeenbekov. Almazbek Atambayev, who was president before Mr. Jeenbekov, was arrested last year on charges that some people believe were made up.

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When more protesters arrived, they attacked and took over several important government buildings. They have also forced other big changes. Above, protesters around a fire outside the main government building, called the White House.

Sixteen different political parties  took part in Sunday’s election for parliament, but only four parties got enough votes to earn seats in parliament. Three of those four parties support the current president. Those results are what started the protests.

As a result of the protests, the group in charge of elections announced that the results no longer counted. The protesters marched on prisons and forced the release of Mr. Atambayev and other politicians.

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Protesters marched on prisons and forced the release of Mr. Atambayev and other politicians. Above, Mr. Atambayev (center) with some of the protesters who freed him.

The country’s prime minister stepped down. He was replaced by Sadyr Japarov, who was just released from prison. Now politicians from opposition parties claim to be in charge of some parts of the government.

President Jeenbekov also seems ready to step down. “The main goal of the protesters was…to remove me from power,” he told the BBC. “To solve this issue, I am ready to give the responsibility to strong leaders, no matter which group they belong to.”

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President Sooronbay Jeenbekov, shown above in September, also seems ready to step down. “To solve this issue, I am ready to give the responsibility to strong leaders, no matter which group they belong to,” he told the BBC.

It’s unclear how things in Kyrgyzstan will wind up. The situation is still developing and will probably continue to change for some time.

Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan


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Protests in Belarus Continue For Nearly Two Months

Tens of thousands of people continue to protest every week in Belarus, nearly two months after August’s election. Many people questioned the election results, which seemed to show President Aleksandr Lukashenko winning for the sixth time.

The elections and Mr. Lukashenko’s actions have been condemned by many countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union.

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Mr. Lukashenko (shown above in August) shows no sign of backing down. On September 23, he held a private ceremony where he was sworn in again as president. Mr. Lukashenko has the backing of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Still, Mr. Lukashenko shows no sign of backing down. On September 23, he held a private ceremony where he was sworn in again as president. Mr. Lukashenko has the backing of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Most of Mr. Lukashenko’s opponents have been arrested or forced to leave the country. His main opponent, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, has been meeting with European leaders like France’s Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Angela Merkel. She hopes to convince other nations to put more pressure on Mr. Lukashenko.

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Mr. Lukashenko’s main opponent, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya (right), has been meeting with European leaders like France’s Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Angela Merkel (left). She hopes to convince other nations to put more pressure on Mr. Lukashenko.

Inside the country, tens of thousands – and sometimes hundreds of thousands – of people continue to swarm the streets, in spite of the rough treatment they are getting from police and other government agents. Thousands of protesters have been arrested, and many have been beaten.

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Inside the country, tens of thousands – and sometimes hundreds of thousands – of people continue to swarm the streets, in spite of the rough treatment they are getting from police and other government agents. Above, a protest in Minsk on Sunday.

Minsk, Belarus


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