Protests began in the autonomous republic of Uzbekistan Karakalpakstan. They are passed in the capital of the republic, the city of Nukus, as well as in Chimbay and Muynak. According to local news outlets, additional forces of the Uzbek National Guard have been brought into Karakalpakstan. Detentions took place, but the exact number of detainees is still unknown.
Ministry of Internal Affairs of Uzbekistan called the shares illegal, and also declared “a misinterpretation of the constitutional reforms.” “The head of the republic addressed the demonstrators. People began to disperse. Now the police are carrying out explanatory work with the protesters,” the Interior Ministry said in a statement.
The protests began after a new draft constitution was published in Uzbekistan. From the new version exclude the sovereign status of Karakalpakstan and his right to secede from the republic. The current Constitution has Section 17 dedicated entirely to this region. It states that Karakalpakstan is a sovereign republic and that the people of this republic have the right to secede from Uzbekistan on the basis of a general referendum of the people of Karakalpakstan. It was these paragraphs that were removed from the new version of the Constitution.
On the day the project was published on June 26, calls for protests appeared on social networks. On June 27, residents of Nukus wrote that access to mobile Internet was limited in the city. On Friday, according to the videoat least several hundred people gathered on the streets of Nukus with the flags of the Karakalpak Republic.
People also protested over the detention of local journalist and activist Dauletmurat Tazhimuratov, who called on citizens to come out to rallies against the draft amendments to the Constitution. Tazhimuratov’s sister confirmed that in the afternoon the police took him from his house. It is reported that Tazhimuratov was later released.
Gazeta.uz edition with reference to the constitutional commission writesthat the amendments were developed by the deputies of the Parliament (Jokargy Kenes) of Karakalpakstan and unanimously approved by them. It is alleged that while collecting opinions on the reform of the Constitution, “many proposals were received from the population of the region to define Karakalpakstan as an indivisible part of Uzbekistan.”
The constitutional commission explained that the changes are aimed at strengthening the unity of the Karakalpak and Uzbek peoples, as well as at reinforcing the idea of ”One country – a common destiny.”
Constitution of Karakalpakstan entered in force April 9, 1993. Its first article repeats the provisions of the Constitution of Uzbekistan on the sovereign democratic status of Karkalpakstan and its place within the republic. It also spells out the right to secede from Uzbekistan on the basis of a general referendum of the people of Karakalpakstan.