Posts tagged White House

Stunned Bewilderment over Kyrgyzstan Events (part I)

What’s bewildering is one might know much in Kazakhstan concerning the Kyrgyzstan events of last week from American friends who are currently “on the ground” in Bishkek and who are “netizens” while the rest of the world just yawns and goes on with life as usual. But NOTHING is ordinary with 80 people dead, 100s wounded and a deposed president in the south of Kyrgyzstan refusing to resign after he drained all the country’s money from banks.  That leaves a new, unsteady leadership with impoverished funds to try to clean up the mess they presumably created in order to have the power to have the same thing done to them again in five years.  These revolutions in Kyrgyzstan seem to be following a Soviet style Five Year plan…

Read the following account from an American we know who has been in Bishkek for the last five years, he is a father of four children.  I fully expect that he and many others did NOT know the demonstration would turn into a bloodbath.

April 7th Demonstration in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

On the way home from school (to get the camera) we noticed that everyone was wearing black. We passed the police headquarters close to the Chinese restaurant in the basement. Heavily armed guards with big guns were at the scene, with at least 8-10 large dogs, mostly German Shepherds. Upon arriving at home, I quickly found a dark navy blue rain jacket and a camera with an extra battery. As soon as my brother and I reached Jibek Jolu, we noticed 100 armed police and soldiers with helmets, vests, guns, shields, and batons. We walked up a different route toward Panfilova, but then turned and saw all of them marching up behind us. We walked a little bit faster, unsure if they were after two handsome boys like us, but fortunately they stopped at a police station. We continued on ahead, saw the smoke rising up. Next to Panfilova, behind the museum, there was a lot of scattered trash everywhere. We could hear more gunfire and the shouts of people.

We walked up towards the city square where the statue and the big flag is. We saw more and more people and large rocks on the ground along with broken slabs of concrete. I saw that to my right, they had burned a little kiosk, and it was smoking gray, meaning it was a while ago. I saw that they had crashed army trucks into the gate of the “White House” and set it ablaze. The “White House” was surrounded by about a few hundred police officers and soldiers with guns, shields, helmets, and beating batons. I heard gun shots, and I saw about a few hundred protesters running back. They were carrying a man on their shoulders and took them to the square. There, a Damas ambulance was waiting as they loaded him into the trunk. From my view point, I couldn’t tell if he was dead or wounded. Then the whole crowd, there must have been ten thousand or more people, started cheering for him. But I could tell that they were furious, and they then rushed towards the White house, yelling.

I finally came to the place where the two guards stood, and men were throwing rocks at the glass. A few others were yelling at them, telling them not to. Some guys smashed the strobe lights with their feet. There were large pieces of glass and rocks everywhere. There were also a lot of cigarette boxes, Coke bottles, and miscellaneous trash. I saw some guys giving speeches on top of a platform with a megaphone. Others next to them were waving the Kyrgyz flag.

The people there were mostly wearing black. Mainly men, about 90% but there were young women, young boys, old women, and old men. Some men wore the white Kyrgyz hats like mine. I did not see anyone carrying arms besides sticks or stones. I noticed that some had beaten police up and had taken their shields, helmets, or batons.

I walked through the crowd, taking pictures. One guy asked me if I was Korean, and I said yes. Then he told me to put the pictures on the Internet, so that the whole world would see what is going on. There were some T.V. stations there, and people wanted them to get closer to the action, but they didn’t want to. I eventually fought my way to the columns and got closer and closer to the “White House”. There was an occasional burst of gunshots. Then I saw one guy get shot. He was running toward the “White House” and someone shot him in the stomach. It was probably a sniper from the corner of the rooftop. There was a spotter and a sniper. The spotter was wearing a helmet and a mask. Blood spurted out. Two men rushed, waving their arms and carried him by his arms and feet to safety. I saw another man grasping his leg, and someone was with him with a red first aid kit.

I came to the columns and saw a HUGE puddle of blood, with a bloody jacket on top. It scared me and at first I didn’t think it was real. But when I returned later, someone had wiped it off, proving it wasn’t paint. I continued to the corner and saw that they had torn down signs and were standing on large pieces of concrete. More demonstrations were going on further up on Kievskaya. I saw puddles of blood on the ground. It was if someone had beaten a head with a baseball bat. I walked along parallel to the “White House”, getting dangerously close. Other people were also taking pictures with their cameras or phones. Then an ambulance came and quickly, people loaded the two men who were shot and the ambulance quickly carried them away. They had set about 5/6 trucks on fire and smashed them into the wall, denting the fences or breaking them. One sky blue truck had even gone through the gate.

I kept walking down, and I saw more people rallying. Some were carrying the red flag ofKyrgyzstan. Some were yelling at the people, encouraging them to fight. I went to the grass and found more splotches of blood. A nurse walked around the gate, and men started crowding around her, I don’t know why. I think she told them to go away, judging by the gestures of their hands. There was a bloody black shoe next to a large splotch of blood. The people started getting worked up and one kid was furious, he was about 6 years old, wielding a large stick and was screaming.

(to be continued)

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Surviving a Kyrgyz Revolution and Resulting Damage

I am finding out on FB that those friends of mine who live in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan survived the revolution and are back to rebuilding normalcy among the wreckage of what is so terribly broken.  One friend stated that “Fatboys” restaurant had re-opened which is where we met John several years ago when we visited Bishkek.  Another friend, Otto, who works in the American university wrote this in his blog on how he fared:

“Since the afternoon of 7 April 2010 I have been without internet access. But, the local internet cafe is now open and Blogger is unblocked. At 1:30 in the afternoon on the 7th I was sent home from work in order to protect my safety. A rather large crowd of riot police had already gathered in front of both the parliment and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs next to the university. As I walked home I saw a large crowd of people marching with flags along with the trucks that were later rammed into the gates of the White House on Chui. I did not see anything else until the next morning, but I heard the mob of looters ransack the Vefa Center. We had just gotten a new Beta Store to replace Ramstor a week ago. Now the entire mall is in ruins.

The next day my girlfriend, her son and I walked down to see the White House. There was a large crowd of people wandering in and out of the building. From the upper stories of the building people were throwing out a large number of documents. There was an impromptu memorial at the gate for the people who had died the previous day. We left when the leader of Ata Meken started giving a speech to an ever increasing crowd of people.

A large number of stores and kiosks were looted and burned during the night of the 7th. The police force simply disappeared that night. The looting continued the next night. It was not until Friday the 9th that I saw any police in Bishkek.

Today everything seems quite normal. I took the little guy to the park to play. The little bazaar behind us is doing a brisk business. I purchased hamburgers for lunch. Except for the ruins of Vefa things have pretty much returned to normal in Yug-2.

According to the local television news the toll for 7-8 April 2010 in Bishkek is 79 dead and 75 destroyed businesses. Almost all of the big and medium grocery stores got completely looted. A number of them were foreign owned. For instance the Vefa Center near me with its new Beta Store anchor was owned by Turkish investors.”
I’m still waiting to hear from two American couples who are friends of ours who have lived and served the Kyrgyz people  in Bishkek over 18 years. I wonder how they are doing.

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