Uzbek authorities say city rocked by protests is now stable
Authorities in Uzbekistan say normal life has returned to the city of Nukus after the deadliest clashes in the Central Asian state for nearly two decades, blaming the violence on protesters.
Reporters were taken on an escorted trip on Wednesday to Nukus, the main city of Uzbekistan's autonomous republic of Karakalpakstan, where markets were open and streets were busy with cars.
The government has said 18 people were killed last week, including four members of the law enforcement forces, after protests broke out against a government proposal - subsequently dropped - to strip the republic of its autonomous status.
"Thanks to the promptly taken countermeasures and the explanatory work carried out among the population, the situation in Nukus has completely stabilised," Khamidjan Dadabaev, deputy commander of the National Guard, told reporters.
The U.S. State Department called this week for a full and transparent investigation into the deaths. The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, urged the Uzbek authorities to "exercise utmost restraint".
The violence is the worst to break out since 2005 in the former Soviet republic.