Uzbekistan imposes state of emergency in Karakalpak, hit by protests | Protests News

Uzbekistan imposes state of emergency in Karakalpak, hit by protests |  Protests News
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President Mirziyoyev abandons plans to curb Karakalpak’s autonomy after a rare public outcry in the northwestern province.

Uzbekistan has announced a month-long state of emergency in an autonomous republic where weird protests forced President Shavkat Mirziyoyev to reverse certain constitutional reforms.

President Mirziyoyev’s press secretary Sherzod Asadov wrote on Telegram on Saturday that the state of emergency in the Republic of Karakalpakstan would last from midnight on Sunday (19:00 GMT on Saturday) until August 2.

The move was taken to “ensure the safety of citizens, protect their rights and freedoms (and) restore law and order” in the territory, the statement added.

> Uzbekistan’s president had arrived in Karakalpakstan on Saturday and vowed that proposed constitutional amendments that would have weakened the territory’s status would be scrapped.

A demonstration was called on Friday to protest constitutional reform plans that would have changed the status of Karakalpakstan, an autonomous republic that is home to the Karakalpak people, a minority ethnic group with their own language, Uzbek authorities said.

Police dispersed protesters after some tried to storm local government buildings in the region’s capital, Nukus, following a march and rally at the city’s central market, local and government officials said.

Under the current Uzbek constitution, Karakalpakstan is described as a sovereign republic within Uzbekistan and has the right to secede by holding a referendum.

The new version of the constitution, on which Uzbekistan plans to hold a public vote in the coming months, would no longer mention Karakalpakistan’s sovereignty or right to secede.

But in a swift reaction to the protest, Mirziyoyev said during a visit to Karakalpakstan on Saturday that changes related to his status should be removed from the proposed reform, his office said in a statement.

Karakalpakstan’s government said in a statement on Saturday that police had detained the leaders of Friday’s protest and several other protesters who had put up resistance.

A joint statement by the republic’s police, parliament and cabinet said “provocatives” had tried to “seize state institutions, divide society and destabilize the sociopolitical situation in Uzbekistan.”

“A group of organizers of mass riots and people who actively resisted law enforcement have been detained. Investigative actions are being carried out against them,” the statement said, blaming a “criminal group” for the riots.

The Karakalpakstan-related changes were part of a broader constitutional reform proposed by Mirziyoyev, which also includes strengthening civil rights and extending the presidential term from five to seven years.

If the reform passes in the planned referendum, it would reset Mirziyoyev’s term count and allow him to run for two more terms.

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