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Kyrgyz President Flees After Opponents Seize Government Building in Bishkek


Kyrgyzstan's President Askar Akayev is reported to have fled the country, after anti-government protesters seized the main government building in the capital and freed jailed opposition leader Felix Kulov.

The Russian news agency, Interfax, quotes unnamed sources as saying Mr. Akayev left the country Thursday with his family, headed toward neighboring Kazakhstan.

That report, which could not immediately be confirmed, came hours after protesters seized the government headquarters in Bishkek. Heavily armed security forces guarding the building withdrew as the demonstrators pushed in, after fierce clashes with the president's supporters.

People use a wooden shield as a drum as they dance celebrating after storming government headquarters in Bishkek
The protesters called on the president to step down. He had consistently refused to resign or annul the recent parliamentary elections, which the opposition says were rigged.

Protesters also freed jailed opposition leader Felix Kulov and he promised to speak to the nation on television.

The former vice president was jailed four years ago on charges that the opposition says were politically motivated.

Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.

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