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4 Jul, 2022 10:46

Uzbek govt concedes to protesters’ demands after deadly riots

The Central Asian country has dropped a controversial amendment to its constitution
Uzbek govt concedes to protesters’ demands after deadly riots

Uzbekistan has scrapped the idea of revoking the autonomy of the northwestern region of Karakalpakstan after deadly riots broke out there on Friday.

The Legislative Chamber, the lower house of the country’s parliament, said on Monday that, according to a proposal by President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the articles of the constitution guaranteeing Karakalpakstan’s autonomy will “remain unchanged, and the existing norms will be retained.”

The house voted to extend “popular discussions” regarding the planned amendments to the constitution until July 15.

Mirziyoyev promised not to revoke the region’s special status during a trip to Karakalpakstan’s capital of Nukus on Sunday. “Not a single article [of the constitution] will be amended, if the people of Karakalpakstan are dissatisfied,” he said.

The riots in Nukus left 18 dead and 243 injured, including 38 police officers, the Prosecutor General’s office said on Monday. According to the National Guard, 516 people were detained.

The authorities declared a month-long emergency in Karakalpakstan and imposed a nighttime curfew in the region.

The protests in Nukus began after the government unveiled a proposal to remove references to the region’s autonomy from the constitution. The authorities have since insisted that some protesters were driven by “the incorrect interpretation” of the proposed reform. Mirziyoyev promised that the final draft of the amendments would be put to a referendum.