Protests took place in the capital of Karakalpakstan on July 1 over draft amendments to the Constitution that would remove the clause on the right to secede from Uzbekistan. Protest organizers detained authorities protesting” />
The authorities of the Republic of Karakalpakstan, which is part of Uzbekistan, detained the organizers of the protests that took place in its capital the day before— city of Nukus. This is stated in a joint statement by Jokargy Kenes (parliament), the Council of Ministers and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Karakalpakstan.
The statement says that the organizers of the riots, “hiding behind populist slogans, manipulating the consciousness and trust of citizens,” gathered people in the city square, where the administrative buildings are located. The rally participants tried to seize the state administration, “despite the policy of openness and free will pursued by the Republic of Uzbekistan.” Law enforcement agencies stopped the “illegal actions of the instigators”.
The parliament, the government and the Ministry of Internal Affairs stressed that the state has “the necessary potential to prevent further loosening of the situation,” and all “provocateurs” will be found and held accountable.
The statement also notes attempts by external forces to influence the situation in Karakalpakstan “through targeted information releases and distortion of ongoing events.”
The reason for the protests in Nukus was the draft of the new Constitution of the country. The changes involve the exclusion from the Basic Law of the provisions on the sovereignty of Karakalpakstan and the right of its people to secede based on the results of a general referendum. The Ministry of Internal Affairs explained that the protesters misinterpreted the essence of the constitutional reform.
In 1930, the Kara-Kalpak Autonomous Region was withdrawn from the Kazakh ASSR and transferred to the RSFSR. In 1936-1990, the Karakalpak ASSR was part of the Uzbek SSR. In December 1990, the Parliament of the Autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan adopted a declaration on state sovereignty, and in 1993 an agreement was signed on the entry of Karakalpakstan into Uzbekistan for 20 years with the right to secede from the republic after a referendum.
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“Newspaper.uz” reported that the head of the Jokargy Kenes of Karakalpakstan, Murat Kamalov, met with the protesters. He spoke together with activist Dauletmurat Tazhimuratov, who was previously detained and whose release was demanded by the demonstrators. Kamalov said that local authorities had agreed to hold a peaceful protest on July 5.
According to the BBC Uzbek service, there were problems with the Internet amid criticism of the reform and calls for protests in the republic.
Amendments to the Constitution of Uzbekistan were submitted for public discussion on June 26. Prior to this, the draft was approved in the first reading by the legislative chamber of the country's parliament. It is proposed to make more than 170 amendments to 66 articles of the Constitution— in particular, to increase the presidential term from five to seven years. In addition, norms will be introduced into the law, according to which all irreconcilable contradictions in relations between a citizen and state bodies will be interpreted in favor of a person.
President Shavkat Mirziyoyev also proposed to introduce a provision on the prohibition of the death penalty into the Constitution, which has been canceled in the republic since 2008.
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