Kyrgyz Opposition Sets Up 'People's Gov't'

As violent protests erupt in three cities across the country, Kyrgyzstan’s opposition says it has set up a “people’s government.” The location of President Bakiyev is unknown, but it’s suspected that he’s left the country. The opposition leader, Roza Otunbayeva, said the interim government would remain in power for six months as a new constitution was drafted. The U.S., which has condemned the violence, has a military base in the Central Asian country that it uses to supply troops in Afghanistan; the opposition says the bases can continue to operate. Russia, which also has a base in Kyrgyzstan, denied involvement in stirring up unrest. At least 40 people have been killed in the clashes, and 400 injured (opposition TV news said the casualties were much higher). The border with Kazakhstan has been closed, and curfews were imposed in the three cities with protests, Talas, Bishkek and Naryn. The Kyrgyz interior minister traveled to Talas and was severely beaten. Kyrgyzstan's president came to power after street protests in 2005, but has since been accused of corruption and abandoned by political allies.