From The New York Times:
Large-scale protests appear to have overthrown the government of Kyrgyzstan, an important American ally in Central Asia, after violence between riot police officers and opposition demonstrators on Thursday killed at least 17 people.
The country's president, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, fled the capital, Bishkek, on his plane, and the opposition declared that it was forming its own government.
Earlier in the day, the police used bullets, tear gas and stun grenades against a crowd of thousands massing in front of the presidential office in Bishkek, according to witness accounts. At least 17 people were killed and others were wounded, officials said.
The upheaval raised questions about the future of an important American air base that operates in Kyrgyzstan in support of the NATO mission in nearby Afghanistan. American officials said that as of Wednesday evening the base was functioning normally.