Embattled Kyrgyz President Sooronbay Jeenbekov has declared a state of emergency in the capital Bishkek, under which soldiers have orders to prevent armed clashes.

Supporters of nationalist Sadyr Japarov, who has styled himself as prime minister, throw clumps of earth towards supporters of former Kyrgyzstan's president Almazbek Atambayev as they attend a rally in Bishkek on October 9, 2020.
Supporters of nationalist Sadyr Japarov, who has styled himself as prime minister, throw clumps of earth towards supporters of former Kyrgyzstan's president Almazbek Atambayev as they attend a rally in Bishkek on October 9, 2020. (AFP)

Kyrgyz President Sooronbay Jeenbekov has declared a state of emergency in the capital Bishkek and ordered troops deployed on the streets as unrest grips the Central Asian country.

Jeenbekov's office said the state of emergency, which includes a curfew and tight security restrictions, would be in effect from 1400GMT on Friday until 0200GMT on October 21.

His order did not say how many troops would be deployed. The troops have been instructed to use military vehicles, set up checkpoints, and prevent armed clashes.

Convoys of military trucks were seen driving into the city, but it wasn't immediately clear whether police and the military would comply with the presidential order.

Former leader shot at

On Friday, former president Almazbek Atambayev spoke to demonstrators who flooded central Bishkek, urging them to refrain from violence.

"I'm against using force, everything should be done by peaceful means," he said.

Shortly after he spoke, supporters of Sadyr Zhaparov, who has styled himself as prime minister, assailed pro-Atambayev demonstrators on Bishkek’s central square, hurling stones and bottles.

A man with a pistol fired several shots at Atambayev's car as it sped away, but the former president was unhurt. 

Two other politicians affiliated with Atambayev also had their cars shot at as they left the square, their party said. They weren't injured.

Another politician was badly injured amid the clashes on the square, but the circumstances of the incident weren't immediately clear.

Later on Friday, Kyrgyzstan's Parliament announced plans to convene on Saturday to consider interim prime ministerial candidates as well as President Jeenbekov's declaration of a state of emergency, local news website Akipress quoted a deputy speaker as saying.

The legislature plans to meet in the Ala Archa presidential residence on the outskirts of the capital Bishkek, Aida Kasymaliyeva said, after failing to gather a quorum since protests toppled the previous cabinet on Tuesday.

READ MORE: Kyrgyzstan's President Jeenbekov 'ready to resign'

Jeenbekov: 'Ready to resign'

Jeenbekov had said he was "ready to resign" once a new cabinet was appointed as politicians sought a way out of a power vacuum that has prompted Moscow to talk about Russia's obligation to ensure stability.

Opposition groups have quarrelled among themselves since seizing government buildings and forcing the cancellation of a disputed election result this week.

They made the first step towards consolidation, raising hopes of an end to the crisis, but thousands of their followers took to the streets at rival rallies that politicians said posed a danger of violence.

The opposition is divided between 11 parties which represent clan interests in a country that has already seen two presidents toppled by popular revolts since 2005.

READ MORE: Kyrgyz opposition factions make rival power grabs after overthrowing govt

Russian influence 

Russia has described the situation in Kyrgyzstan, which borders China and hosts a Russian military base, as "a mess and chaos".

The crisis tests the Kremlin's power to shape politics in its former Soviet sphere of influence at a time when the fighting has erupted between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and Belarus is also engulfed in protests.

Kyrgyz opposition groups have so far failed to agree on who would lead a provisional government, after forcing the cabinet to resign and the election commission to annul the results of Sunday's parliamentary election.

READ MORE: Kyrgyzstan election results declared invalid after mass protests

Source: TRTWorld and agencies