Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Mongolia Riots: Aftermath

As of 6am this morning, the riots are subsiding and all the fires in the city have been put out. The MPRP building, in ruins, is still smoking. The rioters threw stones at the fire engines, and set one on fire. One person is reported to have died from smoke asphyxiation in the MPRP building. 2 others during the riots. So far, the damage is 3 dead and 100+ injured.

As expected during any chaos, looting and vandalism have begun. According to some reports, an art gallery was attacked.

In English news, PM Bayar blamed DP's chair Elbegdorj for inciting the violence. "Elbegdorj made the very irresponsible statement of denouncing election results while official results were not yet announced," he said. (Source:CNN) I can't agree with the PM more. I have no doubt that Elbegdorj wanted protests from the public, but this level of violence is quite unprecedented.

Update: Montsame reports that Modern Art Gallery was set on fire, which resulted in the destruction of some rare paintings. The staff at the Gallery were able to save majority of the art, though the total damage is yet to be determined. The Central Palace of Culture was also set on fire, with the offices inside looted.

In other news, rumours abound that the Democratic Party may call an emergency meeting to remove Ts. Elbegdorj from his position as chairman. I wonder where the leaders of Civic Movement and Republic Party are.

Update: 10am, emergency Parliamentary session convened. Only state media allowed in.

Around 480 civilians have been detained and are being questioned by the police. Nearly 400 police officers were injured during the clashes with the rioters.

During the 4 days' state of emergency, sale of alcoholic beverages is prohibited. There's a curfew set around the central city area between 10pm to 8am. Anyone entering the city centre without proper ID during the curfew hours may be detained by the police and held up to 72 hours.

The university entrance registrations have been officially postponed in Ulaanbaatar until the situation stabilizes.

Update: reports that around 1.40am today shots were fired into the crowd outside State Hospital 1. According to the nurses and doctors, riot police dressed in protective gear were firing live rounds at a group of protesters outside the hospital and injured 20 people, of whom 2 died. I do not know how accurate this report is, but I hope it is not true.