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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Uzbekistan Crisis

I'm blogging over at A Fistful of Euros on the situation in Uzbekistan. These are just some ongoing notes:

The latest news today is connected with a round-up of 'suspects' following the clashes and demonstrations in Andijon last week. The LA Times Moscow correspondent cites interfax to the effect that 70 people have been detained (interfax in its turn cites Uzbek Interior Minister Zakir Almatov).

The LA Times article also cites Andrei Babitsky, a Russian reporter for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, as stating in a telephone interview from Andijon that a local human rights activist told him that about 1,500 people had been detained.

Dan Darling at Winds of Change has a comprehensive background post, Publius Pundit Robert Mayer is also following events his latest post is here.

Nathan at Registan also links to an apparent eye-witness account of the 'detonating' events which can be found in the guardian. Details provided in this article help put some more perspective on things. Nathan also has a useful translation link direct from the Fergana news service. Ideal for non-Russian speakers.

This piece from AFP is typical of the reports coming in over the conventional wires. It highlights clearly the way in which Karimov's membership of strategic alliances with Western Democracies can be usefully turned against him by his local opponents. This part in particular stands out:

In one of the first public protests following the violence, 15 supporters of the Free Farmers party, a secular opposition group, gathered in front of the US embassy in Tashkent. "The United States is partly to blame for the situation in Uzbekistan because they supported, and support, the Uzbek regime," one of the organizers, Akhtam Shaimadanov told AFP. However, he added that the protestors had chosen the site of the US embassy because they had less reason to fear retribution from the Uzbek authorities, in full view of their US allies. "We would be beaten if we had this protest near a government building -- we had it here because the Uzbek authorities don't want to spoil their reputation," he told AFP.

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