Eighteen people were killed and 243 injured during unrest in Uzbekistan’s autonomous province of Karakalpakstan, which broke down last week over plans to curtail its autonomy, Uzbek officials said on Monday.
Security forces detained 516 people as they dispersed protesters last Friday, but have now released many of them, the National Guard press office told a briefing.
On Saturday, President Shaukat Mirziyoyev abandoned plans to amend articles of the constitution relating to Karakalpakstan’s autonomy and its right to secede. He also declared a month-long state of emergency in the Northwest Province. [L8N2YK08U]
Official reports said demonstrators marched through the provincial capital Nukus last Friday and tried to seize local government buildings, sparking the deadliest violence in the Central Asian country of 34 million in nearly two decades.
Karakalpakstan, located on the coast of the Aral Sea, which has been the site of an environmental disaster for decades, is home to Karakalpak, an ethnic minority group whose language is closer to Kazakh than to Uzbek.
Mirziyoyev spoke on Monday to the President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, which is home to the largest Karakalpak migrants. Tokayev’s office said he welcomed Tashkent’s measures to ensure stability in Karakalpakstan.
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