Uzbekistan Karakalpakstan - Thousands are injured in unrest

Officials from the Uzbek region in Karakalpakstan claim that thousands of people have been admitted to hospital after they were injured in unrest Friday.

Uzbekistan Karakalpakstan - Thousands are injured in unrest

Officials from the Uzbek region in Karakalpakstan claim that thousands of people have been admitted to hospital after they were injured in unrest Friday.

Regional health minister stated that hospitals in Nukus, the capital of the region, were full.

Protesters taking to the streets about plans to withdraw the territory from the Union led to clashes with security forces.

Now, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev says that the plans will not go ahead.

On Sunday, however, he met with local deputies and accused the "malicious forces" of trying to undermine the situation in Central Asia.

He claimed that protest organizers tried to "seize buildings of local government agencies" to get weapons.

According to AFP news agency, he said that "Taking advantage their numerical superiority, they attacked law enforcement officers, severely beating and inflicting serious injuries."

Uzbekistan is known for its repressive regime and stance against any form of dissident.

Karakalpakstan is a desert area near the Aral Sea that has just over two million inhabitants in a country with 32 million. It is now an autonomous state.

According to reports, police and soldiers are now patrolling Nukus' streets following the declaration of a state of emergency.

Pulat Ahunov (an exiled opposition politician) stated that people couldn't move about and get information due to the state of emergency.

Chairman of the opposition Berlik party, Mr Ahunov said that he was concerned about the possibility of the situation escalating into an ethnic conflict between Uzbeks, Karakalpaks, and a minority group speaking their own language.

He said that rallies are still taking place in several locations, and he spoke from Sweden to Reuters news agency. "Overall, I believe that the situation has stabilized, but there is still danger. Ethnic clashes have occurred between the Karakalpaks (Uzbeks) in the past.

The situation could spiral out of control. It won't be about Karakalpakstan's status, it will be about a clash between the Karakalpaks & the Uzbeks. It is the most deadly thing."

According to AFP videos showing people injured or killed in unrest raise concerns that the security crackdown caused a large death toll.

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