Kyrgyz president resigns after unrest

Kyrgyz president resigns after unrest

Kyrgyz President Sooronbai Jeenbekov resigned on Thursday after days of unrest following a disputed election, saying he wanted to prevent clashes between security forces and protesters who have demanded his removal from office.

In a statement, Jeenbekov said he feared that violence might break out if protesters carry out a threat to march on his compound.

"The military and security forces will be obliged to use their weapons to protect the state residence. Blood will be inevitably shed. I urge both sides not to fall for provocations," he said.

"I do not want to go down in Kyrgyzstan’s history as a president who shed blood and shot at his own citizens," Reuters cited him as saying.

After the election, opposition supporters took to the streets and seized government buildings, prompting the authorities to annul the vote. Jeenbekov announced last week that he would resign, but this week he delayed his exit, saying he would stay in office until a new election was held.

On Wednesday, Jeenbekov accepted parliament’s choice of Sadyr Japarov, a nationalist whose supporters freed him from prison last week, to be prime minister. Japarov and his followers have demanded Jeenbekov leave office.

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