- Title: RUSSIA: Ethnic Uzbek rally in Moscow
- Date: 12th June 2010
- Summary: MOSCOW, RUSSIA (JUNE 12, 2010) (REUTERS) WIDE OF RUSSIA'S GOVERNMENT RESIDENCE, POLICE CARS AT RALLY SITE POLICEMAN TALKING TO RALLY PARTICIPANTS CLOSE OF YOUNG MAN, RALLY PARTICIPANT WIDE OF RALLY MEN WATCHING, LISTENING VARIOUS OF POLICE OFFICER LISTENING AND TALKING TO RALLY PARTICIPANTS GROUP OF RALLY PARTICIPANTS ARGUING (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) MAMIR, RALLY PARTICIPANT SAYING "We came here to ask them, the Russian Federation, to send the troops, to help us, to protect our families which are living there [in Osh] from destruction. They are hiding in the basements, I don't know what is going on there. My fellow citizens are calling me now and saying they don't know whether they will survive or not till the next morning." VARIOUS OF PEOPLE TALKING TO RIOT POLICE UNIT OFFICERS (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RAHIM, RALLY PARTICIPANT SAYING: "If Russia doesn't stop this bloodshed, nobody will manage to stop it. In 1990 the Russian Federation stopped the first bloodshed, as Uzbek and Kyrgyz people were fighting and killing each other." PEOPLE AT RALLY WOMAN CRYING VARIOUS OF MOSCOW POLICE HEAD VLADIMIR KOLOKOLTSEV TALKING TO SOME RALLY PARTICIPANTS UZBEKS SQUATTING ON STREET RALLY PARTICIPANT MAMUR TALKING TO PEOPLE, CONVINCING THEM THAT AUTHORITIES HAVE GOT THEIR MESSAGE PEOPLE LISTENING RALLY PARTICIPANTS AT RUSSIA'S GOVERNMENT RESIDENCE
- Embargoed: 27th June 2010 13:00
- Topics: International Relations
- Reuters ID: LVA8V17M5Z5K5JMZTGQMAACBUGK6
- Story Text: About 150 ethnic Uzbeks gathered for an unsanctioned rally on Friday night(June 11) at the Russia's Government residence in the centre of Moscow.
They called on the Russian Government to intervene in the ethnic conflict in Kyrgyzstan to protect the ethnic Uzbeks, in the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh and its surrounding neighbourhoods.
At least 37 people were killed and 523 injured during Friday's violence, when ethnic conflict flared in Kyrgyzstan's second-largest city, Osh, the country's Health Ministry said. Many suffered gunshot wounds. Officials said the riots were sparked by a fight, possibly in a casino, which quickly escalated into ethnic clashes, the worst outbreak of violence in the Central Asian state since the president was overthrown in April.
The Uzbeks in Moscow hoped to talk directly to someone from Russian authorities and appeal for help. Although the protest was peaceful, policemen urged the protesters to stay calm and leave the square.
Many protesters at the rally said they had been receiving phone calls or text messages from their relatives in Osh telling that ethnic Uzbeks had been attacked by hoodlums in the streets and even in their houses. Many men had been reportedly severely beaten or killed and women raped. According to rally participants, the Uzbeks in Osh had been told they would be killed or robbed of their homes.
"We came here to ask them, the Russian Federation, to send the troops, to help us, to protect our families which are living there [in Osh] from destruction. They are hiding in the basements, I don't know what is going on there. My fellow citizens are calling me now and saying they don't know whether they will survive or not till the next morning," said rally participant Mamur, who is now living in Moscow but the family stayed in Osh.
Moscow's ethnic Uzbeks said they hoped to get support from the Russian authorities who they think could build some kind of a safety corridor from Osh and other places under protection of Russian troops to let ethnic Uzbek leave Kyrgyzstan undisturbed.
"If Russia doesn't stop this bloodshed, nobody will manage to stop it. In 1990 the Russian Federation stopped the first bloodshed, as Uzbek and Kyrgyz people were fighting and killing each other," said Rahim, a Russian citizen born in Osh and whose relatives are still living there.
Head of Moscow police Vladimir Kolokoltsev arrived at the rally in civil uniform and talked to the protesters, but refused to comment and soon left the rally site.
Meanwhile, the number of ethnic Russians who want to leave Kyrgyzstan has risen dramatically, reported the Russian news agency RIA Novosti. A representative of the Russian Migration Service was quoted by the news agency as saying on Friday that many Russians in Kyrgyzstan feared persecution on ethnic grounds.
High ranking Russian officials haven't made any official comment on this so far.
Kyrgyzstan, which won independence with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, has been in turmoil since the revolt that toppled leader, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, on April 7, kindling fears of civil war.
Ethnic unrest between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks is a concern in the Fergana valley where Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan intertwine. In 1990, shortly before the collapse of the Soviet Union, hundreds of people were killed in ethnic clashes near Osh.
On May 19, two people were killed and 74 wounded in clashes between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks in the city of Jalalabad. On the same day, Kyrgyzstan's interim leader Roza Otunbayeva said she would rule the country until the end of 2011, scrapping plans for presidential polls in October.
Jalalabad has also been the scene of fierce clashes between supporters of the interim government and those of Bakiyev, who is in exile in Belarus.
Of Kyrgyzstan's 5.3 million population, ethnic Kyrgyz make up 69.6 percent, Uzbeks 14.5 percent and Russians 8.4 percent.
In the south, Uzbeks comprise about 40 percent of the 1 million population in the Jalalabad region and about 50 percent in the neighbouring region of Osh.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2011. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None