Civil unrest engulfed the politically troubled central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan on Wednesday, with the government declaring a state of emergency and street fighting in the capital resulting in at least 40 deaths, according to reports.
The Kyrgyz Health Ministry said that along with the deaths, around 400 people were wounded in fighting in Bishkek, the capital, between demonstrators supporting the political opposition and police, and the casualty toll is expected to rise.
Interfax said Kabar, the Kyrgyz news agency, reported that the building of the National Security Service in Bishkek had been seized and that detainees had been released from its pre-trial jail.
The service denied the report, according to Interfax, and said protesters made an unsuccessful attempt to seize the building. Cars were seen ablaze near the structure.
Interfax also said the building housing the Office of the Prosecutor General burned down, and eyewitnesses said that opposition supporters occupied the second floor of the parliament building.
Witnesses were quoted as saying that protesters got hold of an armored personnel carrier and weapons thought to have been taken from police. Houses belonging to members of the president’s family were looted and were set ablaze.
Protesters were seen with Molotov cocktail ingredients and one participant of the country’s political discord in 2005 said thousands of supporters of Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakievwere headed to Bishkek to restore order, the Kyrgyz state news agency reported.