change of regime and subsequent upheaval in the Kyrgyz capital has changed the attitude of many local residents towards the country's police force.
Prior to the fall of deposed Kyrgyz president Askar Akayev's regime on 24 March, many Bishkek residents considered law enforcement officials inefficient and corrupt. As night fell on the city at the end of that day, many Bishkek residents found themselves without police protection. Officers kept a low profile and looters ransacked the city.
In April, illegal land seizures around Bishkek were a cause of great concern to residents of the capital and tension was increase by the distribution of leaflets allegedly targeting ethnic minorities. These events highlighted the need for a strong, transparent police service, accountable to the people.
"We need the police, which will protect people's interests, not their own," Almaz, a Bishkek resident and a student of the Kyrgyz Technical University, told IRIN in the capital.
Based in London, we are an informal group dedicated to supporting democracy and human rights throughout
the former Soviet Union. Our aims are:
Informing the public about issues in this area that receive little coverage in the Western media.
Staging peaceful demonstrations and letter-writing campaigns in support of specific causes.
Supporting and publicising nonviolent pro-democracy groups throughout the region.
Encouraging European and American involvement.
Support the Belarusian cartoonists
Third Way, the Belarusian organisation whose members are being prosecuted for producing satirical cartoons about Lukashenka,
have set up a web page where you can make a donation via PayPal. The group urgently
need money for their legal defence and operating expenses. Please give what you can today! Read more
We are continuing to focus our efforts on the Belarusian prisoner of conscience Mikhail Marinich.
We are campaigning for him to receive proper medical treatment, to be permitted to see his family,
and ultimately to be released from prison pending a review of his case. You can help by distributing
our factsheets and letters.
Members of these groups have joined our blog to share their views and experiences.