President of Uzbekistan declares state of emergency in Karakalpakstan

The state of emergency in the region will begin to operate from July 3 and will last until August 2. Such a measure was taken against the backdrop of mass protests in Nukus over the draft amendments to the Constitution

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President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev has declared a state of emergency in the autonomous republic of Karakalpakstan, where protests are taking place, state of emergency, the press service of the head of state reports.

“In order to ensure the safety of citizens, protect their rights and freedoms, restore law and order on the territory of the Republic of Karakalpakstan, a state of emergency was introduced by decree of the President for the period from 00:01 on July 3, 2022 to 00:00 on August 2, 2022,”— the message says.

Protests in the autonomous republic's capital, Nukus, began on 1 July. The next day, the Uzbek authorities reported that the participants in the rallies had tried to seize government bodies. The joint statement of the parliament, the Council of Ministers and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Karakalpakstan spoke about the attempts of “external forces from abroad” influence the situation in the republic “through targeted information releases and distortion of ongoing events.”

The reason for the protests in Nukus was the draft amendments to the country's Constitution. It is proposed to make more than 170 amendments to 66 articles— in particular, remove from the Basic Law the provisions on the sovereignty of Karakalpakstan and the right of its people to secede based on the results of a general referendum.

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On June 20, Mirziyoyev proposed to decide on the changes in a referendum. On June 26, the draft amendments were submitted for public discussion. Prior to this, the draft was approved in the first reading by the legislative chamber of the country's parliament.

However, after the start of the protests, the president of Uzbekistan arrived in Nukus, where he promised not to change the articles of the Constitution relating to the autonomous republic— except for Article 73 on the invariability of the borders of the territory of Karakalpakstan.

In 1930, the Kara-Kalpak Autonomous Region was withdrawn from the Kazakh ASSR and transferred to the RSFSR.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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