On Sunday, October 4, Kyrgyzstan held elections of deputies for the parliament. Voter turnout was 56.6 %. According to preliminary data, four parties got seats in parliament. The opposition failed to clear the 7 % threshold. After that, its representatives reported violations in the vote counting procedure.
The next morning almost 2,000 opposition supporters took to the streets in the capital Bishkek.
According to preliminary information from the Central Electoral Commission (CEC) of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan, representatives of four parties have passed to the country's Parliament. There were Birimdik [Unity] that obtained 24.5% of the vote and Mekenim Kyrgyzstan [Native Kyrgyzstan] with 23.8%, two pro-government parties, as well as two centrist ones such as Kyrgyzstan that received 8.7% of the vote and Butun Kyrgyzstan [United Kyrgyzstan] with 7.1%.
Opposition forces did not overcome the 7% barrier. At the same time, representatives of opposition parties reported numerous violations that had been registered at the polls. Moreover, even Sooronbai Zheenbekov, the President of Kyrgyzstan, said that vote buying became the key problem during the election campaign.
On Monday morning, October 5, the protesters put forward the main demand. Namely, to cancel the election results and to hold a runoff. By evening, the situation in Bishkek started aggravating. People took to the streets with sticks and pieces of rebar in their hands and began to dismantle the cobblestones and to erect barricades.
As reported by RIA Novosti, the Interior Ministry of the republic confirmed that due to the aggressive actions of opposition supporters the police started dispersing them. In turn, a representative of the Ministry of Health reported that more than 120 people with injuries of varying degrees were taken to hospitals on the first day of protests. There were severely injured residents among them. Moreover, half of the victims were officers of law enforcement agencies. As of Tuesday, October 6, the number of victims of the rallies already reached 590 people. The department also said there was one fatal casualty.
At night from October 5 to October 6, the protesters managed to break through to the territory of the White House, where the Presidential Administration and the Parliament are headquartered. They used a truck to breach the gate. After that, the truck entered the protected territory itself. According to witnesses, before that several cars had left the territory adjacent to the Parliament’s building.
Protesters called for staying away from destruction of the Parliament’s building and not to do robbing. Every now and then people were heard shouting: “Do not break it!” According to eyewitnesses, Kadyr Atambaev, the son of former President Almazbek Atambaev, entered the Parliament’s building together with the protesters. Then they moved to the detention facility of the State Committee for National Security where Almazbek Atambaev was kept, and released him.
Andrey Suzdaltsev, a political scientist, believes that the events in Kyrgyzstan might be viewed as an attempt of a coup d'état. However, in his opinion, the rallies were held without any foreign influence.
According to Suzdaltsev, these protest actions were caused by the violations committed during the counting of votes. They were noted by the opposition while the voting was still in progress. He recalled that several parties had found themselves out of parliament and the opposition called the vote count of this kind unfair, demanding a recount. At the same time, he drew attention to how quickly the masses of people reacted to the situation. The protesters pvoved able to gather very quickly, to take to the streets, and to start building barricades. Notably, they were extremely aggressive.
To Suzdaltsev’s thinking, protest sentiments in Kyrgyzstan are the response of the opposition forces to the long-standing internal problems in the country that were not solved by Sooronbai Zheenbekov, the incumbent President, or, moreover, by former President Almazbek Atambaev. At the same time, Suzdaltsev believes that a lot might depend on Almazbek Atambaev and on what position he is going to take.
According to Tolgonay Stamalieva, the press secretary of the President of the republic, taking into account the current situation in the country, Sooronbai Zheenbekov recommended the Central Election Commission to scrutinize all violations recorded during the voting and, if necessary, to cancel the election results. Zheenbekov, according to the media, spares no effort to “get the country back on a peaceful track.” After that, the CEC of Kyrgyzstan, with the reference to violations during the election campaign, said that the voting results were annulled and the dates of new elections would be announced.
Meanwhile, recently, the opposition forces in Kyrgyzstan said that they were going to establish a people's government, as well as to elect a new Prime Minister. This was announced at a rally in Bishkek by Zhanar Akayev, the leader of the Ata-Meken [Motherland] opposition party.
Events in Kyrgyzstan are moving on very rapidly. Today, everything will depend on those people who will take the leading position in the protest movement.