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Order appears returning to Kyrgyzstan capital
Updated: 2005-03-27 16:09

A flower-and-ribbon decorated limousine carrying newly-weds and a cavalcade of siren-wailing police cars, both rarely seen in the previous days, appeared on the streets of Bishkek Saturday, capital of the central Asia country Kyrgyzstan.

These are early but possible signs that law and order is starting to return to the city with a 800,000-strong population after two rough days and nights tainted by violence and vandalism.

Large-scale commotion jolted the capital Thursday night, leaving numerous commercial sites ransacked and damaged, reportedly having several people killed and more injured.

Along the main streets Saturday, stores at a relatively large scale remained closed but smaller ones such as moneychangers and newspaper booths were beginning to open to welcome customers.

Euro-Asia, a convenience store at the Soviet Street, is open, this time not to customers but to clean up heaps of rubbish left by plunders who raided and virtually gutted the store Thursday night.

"Nothing happened on Friday night, maybe because there was nothing left for them", said a female employee of the store, apparently referring to looters.

At the front gate of Beta Store, a five-story Turkish-owned shopping mall in downtown Bishkek, security guards with pink and white arm bands told Xinhua that a 1,000-strong mob forced their way inside Thursday night, breaking window glasses, setting fires around and taking away everything they could carry.

"Friday night was OK," said Ular Lasim, security manager of the store, adding that they now feel safer with police again patrolling the street where the store is located.

On Friday night, riot police, with the aid of some 2,000 security volunteers and a chilly rain late into the night, returned, fired warning shots and chased away stone-throwing mobs lurking around major streets.

Suermei Sulaiman, a police lieutenant with the Interior Ministry, told Xinhua on the Central Square near the main government building which was stormed by opposition supporters Thursday, that for his knowledge the whole police force have now returned to their normal duties.

"We now listen to the orders of the new minister of the Interior Ministry," he said.

Asked where he and his colleagues had been in the previous two days, he said they were busy protecting dignitaries and foreign entities in the capital.

People are also seeing signs of stability in the politics arena when parliament convened Saturday and slated a presidential election for June 26.

Acting President and Prime Minister Kurmanbek Bakiev, appointed by the parliament the other day, said he would compete in the election. Lawmakers also said parliamentary elections would be considered and possibly held after the presidential elections.

All these, however, could amount to a temporary euphoria as people warned that disgruntled politicians of the ousted government and their supporters may start to take moves.

Local radio said Saturday that 500 supporters from Akayev's hometwon Kemen near the capital are marching towards Bishkek and the newly formed authority said they will be kept out.

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