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Gunfire breaks up pro-Bakiyev rally in southern Kyrgyzstan

Gunfire interrupted a rally in support of ousted Kyrgyz president Kurmanbek Bakiyev in the southern city of Osh Thursday, AFP news agency reported. The shots rang out as Bakiyev took the podium while a rival rally was held a few hundred metres away.

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AFP - Automatic gunfire rang out on Thursday in the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh as supporters of the interim government and ousted president Kurmanbek Bakiyev held competing rallies.

Shots were fired when Bakiyev took to the podium to address around 2,000 supporters while a rival rally of interim government supporters took place a few hundred metres (yard) away, an AFP correspondent at the scene reported.

The Interfax news agency reported that the shots were fired by Bakiyev's guards, who were shooting into the air.

Bakiyev shouted "Don't run, don't run!" as the crowd panicked and fled the square. Witnesses said the president then took refuge in a theatre, and a few minutes later was seen climbing into his SUV and driving away.

Bakiyev fled to southern Kyrgyzstan after last week's protests erupted into violence, killing 84 people and bringing the interim government to power in the volatile Central Asian country.

Kyrgyzstan's new interim leader, Roza Otunbayeva, on Wednesday demanded that Bakiyev face trial for "spilling blood" during the mass protests.

The toppled president on Tuesday had offered to resign, on the condition that the security of himself and his family was guaranteed.

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