Gunfire at Kyrgyzstan Rally

OSH, Kyrgyzstan (AP) - Gunfire broke out Thursday at a rally
where the deposed president of Kyrgyzstan was speaking to
supporters. Kurmanbek Bakiyev was quickly hustled into a car and
driven away from the scene, and there were no apparent injuries in
the crowd.

One of Bakiyev's brothers, Kanybek, told The Associated Press
that the president was uninjured and was returning to his home in
the village of Teyit, about a two-hour drive from the rally site.

The gunfire crackled out seconds after Bakiyev began speaking to
the crowd of about 5,000 in Osh, the largest city in the southern
region that is Bakiyev's support base.

After fleeing the capital last week, Bakiyev in recent days has
made a series of public appearances, clearly testing how much
support he has to try to resist the interim authorities who have
taken control in the capital.

It was unclear who fired the shots or if they were aimed into
the air or at rally participants.

Bakiyev was driven out of the capital on April 7 after a protest
rally boiled over into gunfire; protesters then stormed government
buildings. At least 83 people died in the violence.

Bakiyev has said he would be willing to resign if security
guarantees were given to him and close relatives. The interim
authorities have offered him such guarantees but have refused them
for family members.

They also say Bakiyev would have to leave the country or face
prosecution; his opponents blame him both for last week's violence
and for alleged widespread corruption.

Bakiyev has shown no signs of willingness to leave Kyrgyzstan,
and no country has stepped forward publicly with offers of shelter.


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