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  Upheaval in Kyrgyzstan as Leader Flees
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ContributorHomegrown Democrat 
Last EditedHomegrown Democrat  Apr 07, 2010 05:12pm
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AuthorClifford J. Levy
MediaNewspaper - New York Times
News DateWednesday, April 7, 2010 11:00:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionMOSCOW — Large-scale protests on Wednesday appeared to overthrow the government of Kyrgyzstan, an important American ally in Central Asia. Government officials said at least 41 people had been killed in bloody fighting between riot police and demonstrators in the capital of Bishkek and elsewhere in the country.

While the opposition declared that it was forming its own government, President Kurmanbek Bakiyev left Bishkek in the presidential plane, though it was not clear whether he was leaving the country or heading to another Kyrgyz city. Earlier in the day, the police used live ammunition, tear gas and stun grenades against a crowd of thousands that massed in front of the presidential office in Bishkek, according to witness accounts.

Dinara Saginbayeva, a Kyrgyz health official, said in a telephone interview that the death toll could rise further, and that more than 350 people had been wounded in Bishkek alone. Opposition leaders said as many as 100 people may have died. The upheaval raised questions about the future of an important American air base that operates in Kyrgyzstan in support of the NATO mission in nearby Afghanistan. American officials said that as of Wednesday evening the base was functioning normally.
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