Friday, September 24, 2010

Perfectly "safe"

Personal safety is one of the first things that friends ask me about when I tell them I'm going to observe an election in some far-flung country they've never heard of.

Fear not - there hasn't been a riot in Kyrgyzstan in months.

There was a bit of trouble last April, when demonstrations over rising energy prices, the sluggish economy, and the government's closure of several media outlets got a bit out of hand. Protesters took control of some government offices and clashes between protesters and police in the capital turned violent - resulting in nearly 100 lives lost and about 1,000 people seriously injured.

The president fled the capitol in a private jet with his family; opposition leaders formed a new interim government.

A week later, supporters of the president turned out for a rally to demand his return to power; gunshots from unknown sources dampened their mood, and the president fled the country and resigned.

Things were fine - for about two months.

More on that later...

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