Kyrgyz opposition protests rising utility tariffs

Kyrgyz opposition protests rising utility tariffs

Thousands of demonstrators rallied in Kyrgyzstan's capital Wednesday to protest recent sharp increase in heating and electricity tariffs and alleged oppression of government opponents, The Washington Post reported.

Addressing a crowd of around 3,000 people, Ata-Meken party leader Omurbek Tekebayev said the opposition "should take power into its own hands" if the government does not heed its demands.

Public dissatisfaction with President Kurmanbek Bakiyev's government is running high in this impoverished former Soviet Central Asian country. Since coming to power on a wave of street protests in 2005, Bakiyev has ensured a measure of stability, but many observers say he has done so at the expense of democratic standards.

The rally in Bishkek was held outside the headquarters of the opposition Social Democratic party after city authorities denied permission to gather in a square near the presidential administration. That spot was the site of the 2005 demonstrations that culminated when protesters stormed the building and forced President Askar Akayev tio flee.

Aida Abdykadyrova, 17, said she traveled to Wednesday's demonstration with her family from their village to protest a fourfold increase in their electricity bills.

"After paying the bills, we had to go hungry and we cannot afford to buy anything for the children," Abdykadyrova said.

Anara Dzhamgirchiyeva, an activist with the For Democracy and Civil Society coalition, said around 5,000 protesters also assembled in Naryn, a town of 50,000 people in Kyrgyzstan's rugged eastern highlands. That rally went ahead despite a ban on the meeting approved Monday by the municipal court.

The fractious opposition has struggled to seize the political initiative in recent years and their fortunes have suffered as numerous prominent politicians have faced a raft of criminal prosecutions or fled abroad, claiming intimidation at the hands of the authorities.

Ata-Meken leader Tekebayev exhorted supporters to continue fighting for their rights.

"The Kyrgyz people should not be afraid of the government, it is they that should be afraid of us," he said.

Volunteers for another opposition party handed out leaflets at Wednesday meeting for another rally to be held at a location close to the presidential administration on March 23.

The protests are taking place against a backdrop of worsening conditions for the independent media.

In a statement Tuesday, U.S watchdog group Freedom House expressed concern over a spate of recent government moves that have limited freedom of expression in Kyrgyzstan.

Over the past week, U.S. government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Kyrgyz service has been unavailable across most of the country. The outlet's local television affiliate has also pulled RFE/RL programs amid government threats of having its broadcasting license revoked.

The BBC's Kyrgyz-language news programs have also only aired sporadically, while several popular Central Asia news sites have been inaccessible to local Internet users.

The government denies that it has been involved in hindering the work of media organizations.

Most Kyrgyz people rely on state-controlled broadcasters as their main source of news, but those stations have failed to cover a series of protests against the utility price increases.

Personnel changes at AccessBank
Personnel changes at AccessBank
EY Azerbaijan invites small and medium sized companies to take part in ‘EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™’ 2020-2021 competition
EY Azerbaijan invites small and medium sized companies to take part in ‘EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™’ 2020-2021 competition
"Together we are POWER": ENGINET supports injured children in Ganja city (FOTO)
"Together we are POWER": ENGINET supports injured children in Ganja city (FOTO)
Loading Bars
Cargo transportation at Turkish Antalya airport reduces
Austria records nearly 1,000 COVID-19 deaths over past 10 days
State Employment Agency of Azerbaijan opens tender on supporting start-up projects
Details of Iran’s exports to Iraq declared
Azerbaijan reports 4,212 new COVID-19 cases, 1,760 recoveries
Four citizens dead as result of mine exploding in Fuzuli - Azerbaijani Prosecutor General's Office
Kazakhstan's export volumes to China surge despite COVID-19
Assistant to Azerbaijan's president, diplomats, Garabagh FC representatives visit Aghdam Mosque (PHOTO)
Turkmenistan committed to promoting socio-economic development of Afghanistan
Georgian oil companies seek to avoid price increases
Tender for maintenance of elevators, escalators launched in Turkey
Azerbaijan's ten-month output of oil products declines
Turkey's export of grain and legumes to Turkmenistan up
Turkmenistan, Belarus discuss program of cooperation
Iran reveals its COVID-19 data for November 28
Azerbaijani president's assistant, diplomatic corps reps arrive at liberated Aghdam city
Rural digitalization project successfully underway in Kazakhstan
Missile fired to Tartar by Armenia delivered to local museum - president's assistant (VIDEO)
Number of enterprises put into operation in Iran's Ardabil Province up
Water problems center to be created in Uzbekistan’s Khorezm region
Khazar Consortium opens tender for purchase of lubricating oil
Azerbaijan’s Baku Telephone Communications opens tender
Georgia sees increase in COVID-19 cases
Number of shells fired at Tartar district by Armenian Armed Forces revealed
German minister says partial lockdown could last until Spring 2021
Kazakhstan doubles export to Afghanistan
Price of apartments in Iran’s Tehran rising
Autumn grain sowing carried out on large area of land in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan’s Baku Metro to buy inert materials through tender
Weekly review of Azerbaijani currency market
Azerbaijani president's assistant, diplomatic missions visiting Tartar (PHOTO)
Turkish soldiers to soon begin their missions in Azerbaijan - Turkey’s VP
Georgian Basisbank launches service for purchase of government securities
Azerbaijan shows footage of Kalbajar's Istisu village (VIDEO)
Uzbekistan reveals its COVID-19 data for November 28
Turkey issues 10M2020 data on cargo, passenger traffic in Adnan Menderes Airport
Assistant to Azerbaijani president, Karabakh football club to visit Tartar, Aghdam cities
Azerbaijani oil prices reaching $49 per barrel
Tesla could widen release of 'self-driving' software in two weeks
Iranian currency rates for November 28
Kazakhstan’s Intergas Central Asia opens tender for equipment modernization
Turkish municipality to rent vehicles via tender
Turkmenistan, EU discuss prospects for developing bilateral contacts
Iran seeks to cooperate in auto sector with foreign countries
Azerbaijani flag raised in liberated Kalbajar city after 27 years (VIDEO)
OPEC+ likely to roll over its current production cut at least until end-March 2021
Brazil's COVID-19 death toll nears 172,000
826 new coronavirus cases in 24 hrs, total at 130,039
Georgian Poti FIZ plans to implement production of high-tech electrical devices in 2021
Chinese mainland reports 6 new imported COVID-19 cases
British, Irish prime ministers discuss EU trade negotiations
Kazakhstan increases exports to Georgia multifold despite COVID-19
France reports 957 new COVID-19 deaths, hospitalizations down
76 more coronavirus patients die in Moscow in past day
OPEC+ monitoring committee postpones meeting on oil production cuts deal in 2021 to Sunday
Brexit goes down to the wire: EU and UK say big differences remain
Iran expected to reduce potato production
Azerbaijan national team won silver and bronze medals at 36th European Championship in Ukraine
Diesel fuel production down in Azerbaijan
Кazakhstan Electricity Grid Operating Company opens tender to buy batteries
Export of grain and legumes by Turkey to Iran down
Turkey registers nearly 30,000 new coronavirus cases as recoveries surpass 390,000
Kazakhstan has high hopes for homegrown COVID-19 vaccine - Minister
Georgia expect stabilization of pandemic with the expansion of restrictions
Iraq reports 2,545 new COVID-19 cases, 547,215 in total
Resolution adopted by French Senate is gross violation of int'l law - Honorary Member of French Parliament
Erdoğan urges public caution against COVID-19 in Turkey amid violations
76 Iranian professors among world top 2% scientists
Monetary policy in Georgia remains tightest among CIS - Renaissance Capital
Representatives of Kyrgyzstan take part in XVIII meeting of CSTO ICMEC
Britain records 16,022 new coronavirus cases, 521 new deaths
Azerbaijani gymnasts reach finals of 36th European Championship in Rhythmic Gymnastics in Ukraine
Turkish political parties condemn French Senate’s resolution on Karabakh
World Maritime University, Georgia aim to develop maritime education, capacity-building activities
Georgia makes giant strides in transposition of energy efficiency acquis
Cash receipts from Azerbaijan to Georgia increases
Number of debit cards in Azerbaijan increases
Uzbekistan increases raisins export to Netherlands
Georgia to subsidize wheat flour price
IAEA to implement multiple projects in Georgia
Uzbekistan, Hungary consider establishing Uzbek-Hungarian Business Council
Uzbekistan confirms repayment schedules on ADB loan for solid waste cleaning
Percentage of problem loans in Azerbaijan down
Eni Turkmenistan Ltd opens tender for vehicles provision
Tree-planting campaign continues in Azerbaijan's Gubadli (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan raises commercial gas production
COVID-related quarantine may be strengthened in Kazakhstan in December
German Bundestag welcoming cessation of hostilities in Karabakh for sustainable peace
Spain names main Turkmen sectors of its interest
Iran to follow FATF-related bills
French Development Agency puts emphasis on increasing solar and wind capacity integration in Georgia
Putin to hold annual press conference via video link on December 17
Share of Austria in total import of Azerbaijan increases
Kazakhstan, Canada discuss prospects for agriculture co-op
Iranian Aras Free Trade Zone reveals its trade surplus
Modernization of primary gas treatment unit carried out at Uzbek oil field
Ambassador of Mexico meets with Azerbaijani Acting Minister of Culture
Azerbaijan supplying drinking water to liberated Shusha city (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan consistently works to strengthen regional cooperation - MFA
Azerbaijan's import of chemical products from Turkey up
All news