AKAYEV GIVES DETAILS OF GOVERNMENT HOUSE STORM
MOSCOW, March 29 (RIA Novosti) - Askar Akayev addressed the Ekho Moskvy radio in a live cast today to offer a dramatic account of Kyrgyz government premises taken by storm. He was watching the suspense-laden developments out of his office window, and fled the Government House a mere half an hour before the opposition seized it.
"The Government House was taken by force. I left half an hour before," he said.
"The morning of March 24 found me, as always, in my seventh-storied office. I was chairing a conference. Normal presidential routine was on," Akayev noted.
When asked whether he was on the premises when the attack started, Akayev replied: "I was there. The opposition said it would have a peaceful rally in my country's principal city square. A fine view of it opens out of my office windows.
"We were making no obstacles... Cabinet ministers and top presidential staff officers previously engaged in an unbroken dialogue and negotiations with opposition leaders. They were all reassuring us it was to be a usual peaceful public rally and demonstration, so we did not interfere. Regrettably, there was no peaceable action - an attack on the Government House broke off, and the house was eventually seized."
"What was the last order you made while in the Government House?" the interviewer asked.
"The storm was more like a proper battle, with the hoodlums having a big superiority, so I left about half an hour before they seized the premises," he answered.
Opposition leaders had brought several thousand rioters into the square in front of the Government House, added Akayev.
"There was only a small police and National Guard force to defend the house. We ordered them not to recur to violence, and not use weapons on the crowd. That made the matter all the worse. I saw it all with my own eyes out my window - policemen and guards were battered in the most cruel and degrading way. They were stoned, and bottles were hurled at them.
"Mybodyguards saw it all, too, so they made me leave," he said.
Askar Akayev is sure the Bishkek drama was premeditated. "Could ten thousand well-trained hoodlums flock in spontaneously?" he exclaimed.
Opposition leaders, too, acknowledged plotting the action after they seized power.
"They brought a great many people out of the provinces. There was not a single Bishkek resident in the crowd.
"The opposition was evidently plotting my assassination, so we fled half an hour before the place was seized," he stressed.
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