Tashiev Leads Bishkek Protests

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by Joshua Foust on 10/3/2012

There were protests today in Bishkek. From the pictures Akipress is posting (including the one above), the protesters appear to be lead by Kamchybek Tashiev, a divisive and outspoken southern politician from Jalal-Abad.

Radio Azzatyk has video:

It seems to be primarily about nationalizing the gold mine in Kumtor, though protesters are also demanding better access to microfinance (and, of course, demanding the Atambaev government step down). Mining is a deeply contentious issue in Kyrgyzstan, as our friend Farrell Steyers wrote about last month.

Despite the flashy photos of the protesters marching through Ala-Too Square and scaling the fences at the White House, it’s unlikely this will really lead to anything bigger. Still, it’s interesting to see Tashiev leading the charge: he had been widely speculated to be Atambaev’s favored replacement for Prime Minister Omurbek Babanov, who was recently ousted for a corrupt deal involving an expensive prized horse. The job instead went to Zhantoro Satybaldiyev, the former Vice Prime Minister who also headed up reconstruction of Osh and Jalal-Abad after the June 2010 riots, last month.

The head of the Ata-Jurt party, which enjoys considerable support in the South, Tashiev finished in third place in last year’s Presidential election. It’s unclear whether his participation in this protest is related to his failed quest to become Prime Minister.

Kloop has a play-by-play for more information.

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This post was written by...

– author of 1848 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Joshua Foust is a Fellow at the American Security Project and the author of Afghanistan Journal: Selections from Registan.net. His research focuses primarily on Central and South Asia. Joshua is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a columnist for PBS Need to Know. Joshua appears regularly on the BBC World News, Aljazeera, and international public radio. Joshua's writing has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor. Follow him on twitter: @joshuafoust

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