Uzbekistan's President Shavkat Mirziyoyev said on Sunday that there were casualties among civilians and law enforcement officers after rare protests in the Central Asian country.

Iran PressAsia: Unrest and demonstration came after rare protests and clashes with authorities in the northwestern region on Friday that saw thousands of people take to the streets in protest.

In Friday unrest, some demonstrators even tried to storm local government buildings in the region's capital, Nukus.

Uzbekistan's President Shavkat Mirziyoyev acknowledged on Sunday that people had been killed in largescale protests that led him to drop plans to curtail the autonomy of the country's Karakalpakstan province.  

In a statement posted online, Mirziyoyev said rioters on Sunday had carried out "destructive actions" in the city of Nukus, capital of the northwestern Karakalpakstan region, by throwing stones, starting fires, and attacking police.

An exiled opposition politician said at least five people had been killed.

Friday's demonstration was sparked by published draft amendments to the Uzbek constitution, which are expected to go to referendum in the coming months.

Under the current constitution, Karakalpakstan is described as a sovereign republic within Uzbekistan that has the right to secede by holding a referendum.

But the proposed new version of the constitution would have no longer mentioned the region's sovereignty or right for secession.


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