There are reports of sporadic gunbattles and looting in Kyrgyzstan's capital, Bishkek. The reports say the capital was tense as darkness fell Friday, and occasional volleys of gunfire could be heard. Hours earlier, the parliament appointed former prime minister and opposition leader Kurmanbek Bakiyev acting head of state, a day after after protesters took over the seat of the government.
The new leader has chosen mostly prominent opposition figures for the posts of foreign, defense and finance ministers and chief prosecutor. For the job of interior minister, he picked Myktybek Abdyldayev, a former chief prosecutor who had been fired Wednesday by ousted President Askar Akayev. Russia became the first country to express its support, but the ousted President Akayev, who fled Thursday, condemned his ouster as an "unconstitutional coup."
The US State Department says it is ready to work with Kyrgyzstan's interim leadership to help restore order following the collapse of President Askar Akayev's government. A spokesman said Friday that the United States has to deal with realities on the ground, and help the country work towards a peaceful and legitimate outcome. The spokesman said US diplomats will be in contact with acting Kyrgyz head of state Kurmanbek Bakiyev and other members of the interim administration. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Friday held talks on the issue by telephone with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and both agreed on the importance of international support for Kyrgyzstan. A spokeswoman for President Bush urged the interim Kyrgyz authorities to restore order to the country as soon as possible.