Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today he was shocked by the reported deaths and injuries in Kyrgyzstan, where demonstrators in the country’s capital have clashed with the police, and once again appealed to all concerned parties to show restraint.
The Secretary-General “urgently appeals for dialogue and calm to avoid further bloodshed,” his spokesperson said. “The Secretary-General is following the situation closely,” the spokesperson added.
Demonstrators protesting against the rising cost of heating fuel and electricity took to the streets in the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, attacking President Kurmanbek Bakiyev’s offices and forcing State radio and television off the air briefly, according to media reports.
Police are said to have opened fire in a bid to disperse the crowd, and the President is also reported to have declared a state of emergency in some areas.
Mr. Ban yesterday called for calm after protesters seized a Government building in the town of Talas, west of Bishkek.
The Secretary-General visited Kyrgyzstan on Saturday as part of his current Central Asian tour and stressed the need to protect all human rights, including free speech and press freedom, in the country.
Media reports have noted restrictions on the freedom of expression and the press in Kyrgyzstan, including the recent closure of an opposition newspaper and other media outlets. Mr. Ban also raised the issue when he met Mr. Bakiev and Prime Minister Daniyar Usenov in Bishkek.