Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

At Least 18 Killed, Hundreds Injured in Uzbekistan Unrest

Mon 04 Jul 2022 | 05:00 PM
Omnia Ahmed

At least 18 people were killed and over 200 wounded in the Uzbek region of Karakalpakstan as protests erupted last week over plans to curtail its autonomy, officials announced on Monday.

Clashes broke out with security forces when crowds protested at plans to limit the region's right to secede.

Meanwhile, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev stated that the plans will not be carried out in Uzbekistan, a country of 32 million with a long history of authoritarian rule.

Around 516 people were detained following unrest on Friday and Saturday in the regional capital Nukus, according to the National Guard. Prosecutors also said the local airport had come under armed attack.

At a meeting with local deputies on Sunday, Mirziyoyev accused protest organisers of trying to "seize the buildings of local government bodies" in order to obtain weapons.

"Taking advantage of their numerical superiority, these men attacked law enforcement officers, severely beating them and inflicting severe injuries," he was quoted as saying by AFP news agency.

In the same vein, an exiled opposition politician, Pulat Ahunov, affirmed that people were unable to move around and obtain information because of the state of emergency.

"There are still rallies going on in many locations," he told Reuters news agency, speaking from Sweden. "Overall, I think that the situation is starting to stabilise, but there is another kind of danger."

"The situation can totally spin out of control. It will not be about the status of Karakalpakstan, it will be about a conflict between the Karakalpaks and the Uzbeks. It is the most dangerous thing."