Asia-Pacific

Shots fired at Kyrgyzstan protest in Bishkek

Supporters of Urmat Baryktabasov protest in Bishkek on 5 August 2010
Image caption The stand-off happened when buses of supporters tried to join crowds protesting in central Bishkek

Security forces in the Kyrgyz capital have fired shots in the air to disperse anti-government demonstrators.

The protesters are supporters of politician and former presidential aspirant Urmat Baryktabasov.

They were travelling to the capital by bus when they were stopped by the authorities outside the city.

Earlier about 1,000 of Mr Baryktabasov's supporters marched across central Bishkek and demonstrated outside the parliament building.

They denounced the interim authorities, who have run the country since leader Kurmanbek Bakiyev was ousted in violent protests in April.

The new government, led by interim President Roza Otunbayeva, has been working to stamp its authority on the impoverished Central Asian nation, which also saw deadly ethnic violence in June.

'No destabilisation'

Kyrgyz authorities accuse Urmat Baryktabasov of trying to oust the previous government in a 2005 demonstration that turned violent.

Mr Baryktabasov fled abroad but then returned to Kyrgyzstan after Mr Bakiyev was overthrown.

Reports said that some of his supporters wanted a place for him in the government and an end to a police case against him.

The stand-off occurred on the outskirts of Bishkek, where police had stopped several buses travelling to join the rally in the centre of the capital.

The crowd dispersed after shots were fired into the air and tear gas was used, reports said.

Appearing on national television, Kyrgyz Interior Minister Kubatbek Baibolov said that the situation was "under control and we will not allow a destabilisation".

He promised tough measures against anyone who tried to seize power.