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Massive demonstration against constitutional changes in Uzbekistan

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To: 03/07/2022 17:22

Unannounced demonstrations are prohibited in Uzbekistan. Nevertheless, there have been protests against a constitutional change in the Karakalpakstan region for days. President Mirsiyoyev spoke of “several casualties”.

People have reportedly been injured or even killed during protests against constitutional change in Uzbekistan. “There have been attacks on public buildings and objects under surveillance. Unfortunately, there are casualties among the civilian population and among security officials,” the Central Asian country’s president Shavkat Mirsiyoyev said. . An exact number was not given. The rioters carried out “destructive actions”, throwing stones, setting fires and attacking the police.

Autonomy status dispute

The riots occurred in the autonomous republic of Karakalpakstan. Demonstrations had already taken place there on Friday because the new Uzbek constitution no longer explicitly mentions the sovereignty of the autonomous republic. Karakalpakstan would then be just an ordinary Uzbek province.

A four-week state of emergency was declared yesterday. Also, President Mirsiyoyev visited Karakalpakstan and announced that he would not change the constitution. It is unclear whether he also wants to do without the new pass, which aims to ensure he remains in office.

Unannounced demos prohibited

Only around two million of the country’s approximately 35 million people live in Karakalpakstan, in western Uzbekistan. However, the republic occupies almost 40% of the country’s area. The republic has its own parliament. Karakalpak is recognized as an official language alongside Uzbek. Otherwise, autonomy rights are limited.

As far as is known, the protests are the largest protests against Mirsijoyev since he took office in 2016. Unannounced protests are illegal in authoritarian Uzbekistan and occur very rarely.

“Excessive use of force” in Nukus?

Landlocked Uzbekistan is a tightly controlled Central Asian state where the government cracks down on any form of criticism. Human rights organizations denounce, among other things, police violence. “There were unconfirmed reports of excessive use of force by security forces during the July 1 protests in Nukus,” wrote Hugh Williamson, director of Human Rights Watch Europe and Central Asia, on Twitter. He called for an investigation into what was going on.

Source www.tagesschau.de

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