Peace Corps Kyrgyzstan

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Peace Corps Vigilant: Kyrgyzstan

Southern Kyrgyzstan Peace Corps Volunteers have moved to Phase II on the preparedness continuum and the rest of the volunteers in Kyrgyzstan are being put on "Standfast" or Phase I. Now, before anyone gets too concerned over this, please remember that these are actually good things. Several of us in the South had been discussing what PC would do next and anticipated this move (I'd already packed a bag, bottled extra water and tracked down the few remaining bags of my father's famous beef jerky for snack food).

"Phase II" means Peace Corps wants to keep a close eye on us and keep us ready in case we need to be moved. This means they are doing their job, monitoring the situation and taking precautions to secure our safety. Today, I feel very safe. There was a big town meeting yesterday afternoon in Osh. The opposition's spokeman said that anyone who breaks the law by looting, destroying property etc. is not part of the opposition--that these will be viewed as criminal acts against the city of Osh and that actions will be taken against said individuals. The police chief here is said to have been restored to his post and will work with the opposition. The TV station, Osh 3000--was not over-run by protestors (apparently, the director of the station negotiated with demonstrators and promised to televise what was happening down here--which is some of the only media we are getting in the south regarding the protests). The airport is operating flights in and out of the city (I know because my expat friend left on one this morning).

All of that said, nobody knows what will happen. There have been anti-opposition (viz. Pro-Akaev) protests in Bishkek. However, tomorrow (Thursday, March 24) the opposition plans on attempting to rally the people in calling for Akaev's resignation. Roza Otunbaeva (former ambassador to the UK) sounds steadfast in her calls for Akaev to step down. Last night, the president declared on national TV that he would not step down and that the oppositions "illegal" activities in the south, would not go unpunished. What does this mean? Nobody knows.

If anyone has any insights or fresh information please drop me an email or click on the comment link below.

I don't know when I will get to update folks again. "Consolidation" also means that we likely won't have access to the internet. Any chance I get, I will try and email.

Note: the term "Phase II" is of my own construction. Safety first.


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