Central Asia?

The tumultuous political events in many of the central Asian republics over the last months ought to be a much greater source of discussion and commentary than they have been. Uzbekistan is the latest to catch fire.

_41145543_bodyafp203President Islam Karimov blamed the violence on Islamic extremist “criminals”. He said about 10 soldiers, and “many others”, were killed.

However, witnesses said troops opened fire on unarmed civilians. Some said they had seen at least 200 bodies.

The government said it was back in control of the city on Saturday, and had retaken administrative buildings.

But huge crowds were on the streets, shouting “killers, murderers” and demanding the president step down.

“What kind of government is this?” one of the protesters said to the Associated Press.

“People were raising their hands up in the air showing they were without arms but soldiers were still shooting at them.”