Uzbekistan says at least 18 killed in unrest

STORY: Security forces detained 516 people while dispersing the protesters last Friday (July 1) but have now released many of them, the national guard press office told a briefing.

On Saturday, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev dropped plans to amend articles of the constitution concerning Karakalpakstan's autonomy and its right to secede. He also declared a month-long state of emergency in the northwestern province.

His office released images on Sunday (July 3) of the president meeting local residents in Nukus after the unrest.

Official reports said protesters had marched through the provincial capital of Nukus last Friday and tried to seize local government buildings, triggering the worst bout of violence in almost two decades in the Central Asian nation of 34 million.

Karakalpakstan, situated on the shores of the Aral Sea which has for decades been a site of environmental disaster, is home to Karakalpaks, an ethnic minority group whose language is closer to Kazakh than Uzbek.