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Uzbek Police Bar Villagers From Protest

Prague, 20 April 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Armed Uzbek authorities today forced residents from four southern villages to stay at home because they were planning to stage a protest.

People from Ichkubi, Tolli, Imgicha, and Ohtihona villages of Zomin district in the region of Jizzakh were planning to demonstrate today outside a local administration building.

The villagers wanted to protest a government firm's decision to dismantle and sell off the pipe system that supplied the four villages with drinking water.

During the police action to prevent the protest, one local human rights activist was arrested. He was later released.

Local government officials have promised to take action that will bring drinking water supplies back to the villages.

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