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Rioting Reported In Eastern Uzbek City

1 November 2004 -- Rioting involving several thousand people was reported today in Uzbekistan's eastern city of Kokand.

Some 2,000 people, many of them women, beat police and tax officials, overturned and burned several police cars, and threw stones at a local administration building in protest at new regulations on imported goods.

Many of those who rioted were merchants selling Chinese wares and goods the Uzbek government has branded as poor-quality goods.

Police and tax officials came to one of the markets in Kokand to confiscate some of the inferior-quality goods when the riot broke out.

Despite efforts by police using water cannons, a large group of protesters marched through Kokand to the mayor's office.

Late reports indicated several hundred people were demonstrating in front of the mayor's office.

(RFE/RL Uzbek Service/AFP)