Protesters demand government resignation in Uzbekistan

Thousands of protesters have gathered in Andizhan, a city in Uzbekistan's northeast, opposite the local administration building demanding the government's resignation, reports Uzbekistan's information web site. A group of gunmen broke into the local correctional labor camp and attempted to seize the administrative building and the National Security Service, according to an official from the Uzbek president's press office. Some of the camp inmates were released. Nine persons were killed and 34 injured, reports the presidential press office.

"The streets are littered with cars with burnt bodies inside. People in civilian clothes carrying automatic weapons are seen among protesters in the city center. They are allegedly maintaining order," reports.

Protesters are demanding the government and President Islam Karimov's resignation. Police or troops are not being seen in the streets, according to the web site.

The armed men are the relations or supporters of the members of the Akromiya religious group (named after Arkom Yuldashev, the founder), who were jailed for anti-state activities.

Andizhan, with the population of 303,000 people, is located in the Fergana valley on the crossroads of the Central Asian republics of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the valley was the venue of fierce ethnic conflicts.

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