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May 14, 2005

Violence in Uzbekistan (Part II)

Posted in: World

More from the aftermath of the violence that took place yesterday in Uzbekistan. As reported by the AP, thousands of Uzbeks fled for the border Saturday of neighboring Kyrgyzstan, seeking asylum.

but hundreds angrily returned to the square where police fired on demonstrators to put down an uprising against country’s authoritarian U.S.-allied leader. A human rights monitor said about 200 people were killed.

Uzbek President Islam Karimov said 10 government troops and “many more” protesters were killed but refused to be more specific. He spoke at a news conference in the capital Tashkent a day after the unprecedented clashes in his tightly controlled country, which he has led since before the 1991 Soviet collapse.

Another witness who declined to be named said “many, many dead bodies” were stacked up by a school near the square. The city’s hospital was cordoned off and officials could not be reached for casualty figures.

For full and complete phenomenal coverage on the event in Uzbekistan, go to the Gateway Pundit. He is all over the story complete with more info, links video and pictures. One of the masters of World events along with Siberian Light, Registan and Publius Pundit. These guys are all must reads for world events.

Update: The Washington Post is also reporting:

Scores of civilians were killed when Uzbek troops opened fire on protesters, some of them armed, in the eastern city of Andijon on Friday, human rights groups and witnesses said. The president of the Central Asian republic said Saturday that the use of force was necessary to quell unrest that he called the work of “criminals” and “Islamic radicals.”

The protests spread Saturday to the city of Ilyichevsk, 20 miles southeast of Andijon and on the border with Kyrgyzstan. Thousands of Uzbeks have streamed to the area, demanding access to the neighboring country. About 500 broke through a closed border.

“They torched a car belonging to a policeman and pushed a border guard’s car into the canal and demanded to be allowed to pass through unhindered” into Kyrgyzstan, a Kyrgyz police official, Ravshan Abdukarimov, told the Reuters news service.

The violence was triggered by the prosecution of 23 prominent businessmen in Andijon on charges of religious extremism, part of a wider government crackdown on all forms of Islam not sanctioned by the state in this largely Muslim country. The businessmen are reported to be followers of Akram Yuldashev, an Islamic dissident who was sentenced to 17 years in prison in 1999 on charges that he called for the overthrow of the government.

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