Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Post-Election Violence Continues

Five people have been killed and 328, including 108 servicemen, have been injured in demonstrations in Ulanbaatar, Mongolia. Two of the five dead were shot and another died of smoke inhalation inside the MPRP headquarters. A Japanese journalist was among the injured. Around 700 protesters have been detained, 90% of them younger than 35. About 1,500 security forces, including 200 soliders, are patrolling the streets of the capital.

This is Mongolia's first ever state of emergency. In addition to the curfew enacted from 10 pm to 8 am for four days, the central parts of the city have been cordoned off. Alcohol sales have also been banned, and only state-owned TV stations are being permitted to broadcast. The city has largely calmed. Some roads are still barricaded, but business have opened and public transport is running.

The US embassy has expressed deep concern and has urged both parties to work together to remain a bastion of democracy in Central Asia. The justice department has reported that opposition forces are planning large demonstrations after the curfew is lifted and insists that those protests will also be suppressed. The parliament is to meet in an emergency session today to discuss the crisis.

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