May 12, 2006 -- Plainclothes police officers in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent today broke up a small demonstration by activists demanding an independent probe into last year's government crackdown in Andijon.
The protest comes a day before the first anniversary of a the government's brutal suppression of a demonstration in the eastern city of Andijon.
Authorities today tore down banners that had been unfurled by the handful of protesters reading, "Shame on Uzbekistan, Shame on [President] Islam Karimov."
The Uzbek government claims that 187 people were killed in the crackdown andt blames Islamic militants for instigating the violence.
But human rights groups and witnesses say the crackdown was a massacre with a much higher death toll. They also say many unarmed civilians were among the dead.
Violence in Andijon, Uzbekistan, on May 14, 2005 (epa)
TALKING ABOUT ANDIJON:
On May 9, 2006, RFE/RL, the National Endowment for Democracy, and U.S.-based human rights organizations cohosted a conference on the May 2005 events in Andijon and their aftermath in Uzbekistan and throughout the region. The first panel featured Andijon eyewitness GALIMA BUKHARBAEVA
, National Endowment for Democracy Fellow NOZIMA KAMALOVA
, RFE/RL Central Asia analyst DANIEL KIMMAGE
, and others. The second panel featured presentations by U.S. Senator JOHN MCCAIN
and U.S. Congressman CHRISTOPHER SMITH
, who used the forum to announce they had introduced legislation calling for sanctions and other measures against the government of President Islam Karimov.
LISTEN Listen to the Andijon conference. Part One (70 minutes):Real Audio Windows MediaPart Two (60 minutes):Real Audio Windows MediaThe Uzbek government's response:Real Audio Windows Media
THE COMPLETE STORY: A dedicated webpage bringing together all of RFE/RL's coverage of the events in Andijon, Uzbekistan, in May 2005 and their continuing repercussions.
For an annotated timeline of the Andijon events and their repercussions, click here.