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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kyrgyz President Says He Will Use Force to Defend His Post

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan -- President Kurmanbek Bakiyev vowed on Wednesday to use force to prevent any attempt to unseat him, despite pressure from Washington to avoid fresh violence.

Kyrgyzstan's opposition is gearing up for a countrywide protest on Saturday against Bakiyev, who came to power in a revolution last year and who it accuses of backtracking on his promises to bring stability and democracy.

"If there is an attempt to seize the White House [the seat of government] ... then it will be all the tougher for them, very tough," Bakiyev told reporters. "Law enforcers are capable of being severe. People run the risk of injury, of ending up in a wheelchair. But if the protest is peaceful and lawful, then no problem."

Unlike peaceful demonstrations in Ukraine and Georgia, protests against a flawed election in Kyrgyzstan turned violent last year and led to long-serving leader Askar Akayev fleeing to Russia as a mob ransacked his office.

The new Kyrgyz opposition, spearheaded by Omurbek Tekebayev, a former speaker of parliament, says it will gather tens of thousands of people in Bishkek and other big cities and set up tent cities to express their discontent.

The United States has called for restraint ahead of the rally, saying Kyrgyzstan should pursue peaceful methods to solve its problems.