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Uzbek Troops Retake Protest Area

  • VOA News

Security forces in Uzbekistan have cleared anti-government protesters from a central square in the eastern city of Andijan, after clashes rocked the former Soviet republic's fourth-largest city. Witnesses say at least one person was killed on Friday when troops fired on thousands of protesters.

Earlier clashes left at least nine dead and 34 injured. The violence began late Thursday when rebels stormed a prison to free 23 Islamic businessmen on trial on charges of forming an extremist group. Witnesses say the rebels took at least 10 police hostage and freed about two thousand prisoners. In Moscow, Russian officials condemned the rebels. Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Yakovenko stressed support for the Uzbek leadership. U.S. officials expressed concerned about the violence and the release from prison of some members of a terrorist organization. A White House spokesman urged restraint on both the government and the demonstrators.

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