Statue toppled over tipple

Angry residents of a town in Kyrgyzstan pulled down a monument to the obscure father-in-law of the country’s ousted president and replaced it with a collection of empty bottles in sardonic tribute to his reputed affinity for the odd tipple, an official said on Thursday.

Residents of Talas, hometown of Askar Akayev’s wife, Mairam, used a tractor to topple and destroy a statue of her father, Duishen. They replaced it with empty drink bottles to symbolise his heavy drinking, said Tursunbai Bakir Uulu, the Central Asian country’s human rights ombudsman.

Mairam Akayeva was reviled by many of those involved in this spring’s unrest, which culminated in protesters overrunning the office of the country’s first post-Soviet president, forcing his family to flee to the Russian Federation on March 24.

Mairam’s father, who died prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union, was not publicly known for anything other than being Akayev’s father-in-law. He was nonetheless honoured with the statue at the beginning of this decade.

“If after the March 24 revolution Mairam Akayeva hadn’t gone to Moscow, but had gone to her homeland in Talas, her people wouldn’t have been offended,” said Bakir Uulu, a candidate at July 10 presidential polls.

“But the fact that she shamefully ran off with the family was no help to her reputation,” he said. — AFP

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