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Protests In London, Almaty Denounce Uzbek Government

Prague, 18 May 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Protests took place in London and Almaty today against the government of Uzbek President Islam Karimov and the violence in Andijon.

A spokesman for the Hizb ut-Tahrir Islamic movement, Imran Waheed, told RFE/RL that hundreds of Muslims of many nationalities gathered in front of the Uzbek Embassy in London today. They denounced the Karimov regime and what he called the "hypocrisy" of Western governments.

"We are demanding the release of all political prisoners and an end to the tyranny of the Karimov regime, but there has been no response from the embassy. And this doesn't surprise us, because we believe the embassy is just a weak and feeble diplomatic representation of a weak and feeble government," Waheed said.

British police yesterday arrested 37 demonstrators from Hizb ut-Tahrir after they splashed fake blood on the walls of the embassy. Waheed says all 37 have been released without charge.

Hundreds of people are believed to have died in Andijon in a crackdown by Uzbek troops. Karimov has accused Hizb ut- Tahrir of triggering the unrest by trying to overthrow the government.

The group denies involvement.

In Almaty, dozens of members of Kazakh youth organizations protested at the Uzbek Embassy. They delivered petitions and paper birds to symbolize solidarity with those who died in Andijon.