Mongolia declares state of emergency after violent protests, five people killed

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A four-day state of emergency has been declared in the capital of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar after violent protests occurred after allegations of vote rigging and fraud in Sunday's elections. Reports state that 5 people have been killed, and over 300 injured. The injured were police and protesters alike, suffering from smoke poisoning, rubber bullets, and stoning. Among the injured was a Japanese citizen, who was reportedly flown to Japan in the morning.

President Nambaryn Enkhbayar declared a state of emergency.

Peaceful protests began on Monday evening, however, they were dispersed in the night. The protests on Tuesday began peacefully on Sukhbaatar Square, however as they moved toward the headquarters of ruling party Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party, they were joined by many more people, who began attacking the building with stones, knocking out the windows.

Riot police were deployed, and as the protests escalated with protesters setting the building on fire with alcoholic beverages and petrol, they reacted with tear gas and rubber bullets. As the Party Headquarters was almost completely set ablaze, the protesters began looting the vicinity, with reports of bank robberies. A wooden extension to the nearby Culture Palace, also known as the Art Gallery, also caught fire, with many priceless artifacts either looted or damaged by fire and water. As the police and army were deployed, about 700 protesters were detained.

In the aftermath, a four-day state of emergency was declared in Ulaanbaatar by President Nambaryn Enkhbayar. Measures include:

  • All protests or demonstrations are banned
  • The city center will be sealed off, with a curfew between 10pm and 8am
  • All TV channels and radios except the Mongolian National Broadcaster will be temporarily shut down.
  • No alcohol will be sold or consumed.
  • Use of weapons or any object capable of causing bodily harm will be banned.

Preliminary election results indicated that the MPRP had a clear majority in parliament.

Police chief said on the state TV that the situation is now under control, but it should be necessary to leave armored vehicles and the troops on their current positions in the capital. An emergency session of parliament also began at around 18:00 Local Time (July 2), however the session was closed to the media by vote, with the basis of high levels of tension erupting in case of disagreements during the session.

All TV channels have been cut off except for the Mongolian National Broadcaster. However some, like Eagle TV, and other internet-based news sites have been reporting on the Internet. A video on their site shows interviews with citizens claiming that their relatives have been detained while coming home from work, although having no part in the protests. The interviewees also allege that the investigators are brutally detaining them. The Government has made no reports about this.

The four days of emergency rule will be the first in the history of Mongolia.