Learning English - Words in the News
23 March, 2005 - Published 12:38 GMT
Kyrgyzstan political crisis
The political crisis continues in Kyrgyzstan where anti-government forces have taken control in the main towns of the south and are calling for President Akayev to stand down. The president says he has no intention of resigning, but will not use force to drive out the protestors from the government buildings they're occupying in Jalalabad and Osh. This report from Monica Whitlock:
The protestors in Osh say they're not backing down. In the morning, a small crowd gathered in the main square to reiterate their demand -- that President Akayev should go. Protestors are still occupying official buildings, the television station and the airport and the security forces have all but disappeared from the city centre.
But the tension of the last few days has evaporated. The mood is good-humoured and Osh is mainly back to normal. People are going to work in the sunshine, the buses are running and bazaars and shops are open. Many people are not especially concerned by the local administration collapsing. Some support the opposition; others don't see that it makes much difference.
Politically though, this is an important moment in the crisis that has unfolded so dramatically. On Tuesday evening, President Akayev appeared on television and invited the opposition to open what he called a civilised dialogue. Appearing calm and assured, he said he was ready and waiting for an opposition leader to come forward. This speech has put the protestors on the spot. So far, no figure has emerged and it's not clear who could take on that role.
The protests in Kyrgyzstan began after last month's parliamentary elections, which many candidates felt were rigged in favour of the government. There's no doubt that there are real grievances here. But the opposition is splintered along regional lines, with no central unifying leader.
Monica Whitlock, BBC News, Tashkent
all but disappeared
on the spot
take on that role