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Uzbek Authorities Disperse Andijon Rally

Victims of the 13 May violence in Andijon. 21 June 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Uzbek authorities today dispersed a group of protestors who were holding a commemoration marking the 40 days since the violence in the eastern city of Andijon, RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reported.

Some 15 rights activists laid flowers at a monument in Tashkent before police moved in and dispersed the gathering.

Today marks the end of the 40-day mourning period -- a tradition in Muslim societies -- following the 13 May violence in eastern Uzbekistan, in which an undetermined number of people were killed.

Uzbek officials say that 176 people -- including Islamic militants, state security forces and civilians -- were killed. Human rights groups dispute the official figure, estimating the death toll to be as high as 1,000.

Uzbek President Islam Karimov has refused international demands for an independent probe into the Andijon violence.