Freed Kyrgyz opposition leader calls for calm
A Kyrgyz opposition leader called for calm on Friday after protests that saw the opposition claim power plunged into violence and looting that left the capital strewn with broken glass and blood.
President Askar Akayev fled the White House on Thursday -- the seat of government in the mountainous state -- before it was engulfed by thousands of people demonstrating against a disputed parliamentary poll and years of poverty and corruption.
The Kyrgyz ambassador to the United States described events as an "anti-constitutional coup."
"This ... is an anti-constitutional coup and they are now trying to manage the situation according to their own scenario," Baktybek Adrisaev told CNN, speaking in English.
At least one man was shot dead during the looting overnight and 31 police officers were wounded, some seriously, Kulov said. Gunshots rang out throughout the night in the city of 800,000.
The looting in Bishkek followed violent protests in the southern towns of Osh and Jalal Abad earlier this week.
The whereabouts of Akayev himself, who has ruled the country for 14 years, were not known. There were various unconfirmed reports he had left the country.
Parliament appointed the head of the opposition coordinating committee, Kurmanbek Bakiev, as acting prime minister. It met on Friday to discuss new ministerial positions.
Ishenbai Kadyrbekov, a former construction minister and an influential opposition leader, was named acting president.
"Former President Akayev is personally responsible for this. He had a chance to resign, instead of which he ran away," Kulov said. "The looters kept shouting 'this shop belonged to the (Akayev) family, this is why it is ours'."
"Let's show the world we're a civilized country," Kulov said, appealing for calm.
Kulov, 55, a former police chief and once head of the secret services, failed in a bid to become president in elections in 2000. He was appointed interior minister on Thursday.
Most of Kyrgyzstan's opposition leaders are former political allies of Akayev who fell out with him for one reason or another.
The United States has called for calm and for fresh elections to be held, following parliamentary votes in February and March denounced as rigged by the opposition.
Rumours flew that Akayev had fled the mountainous country, possibly to oil-rich neighbor Kazakhstan or Russia.