Difference between revisions of "Andijan"
Revision as of 21:58, 11 June 2006
Andijan in Uzbekistan was the site of what many have termed a massacre in May of 2005. The story is complicated, but in brief, an armed raid on a local prison, followed by the occupation of a government building where local government officials were held hostage, led to a gathering of several thousand people in the town square. At some point, firing began and the end result was the death of what most believe to be hundreds of innocents, shot down by government troops. The official government version of these events was that the entire event was triggered by Islamic extremists and that only 187 people died - virtually all "extremists", government officials and troops. Eyewitnesses to the tragedy, however, (and there are many who fled the country and have been granted asylum in various countries) say that hundreds of innocent citizens, including women and children, were gunned down in the streets as they tried to flee.
Much of what took place at that time in Andijan may never be fully known. The government of Uzbekistan has refused demands from the west for an impartial investigation and, in fact, has intimated that the "extremists" who triggered the event were financed by the West.
Regardless of the truth of that event, Andijan remains almost a closed city. It is possible to visit under certain circumstances, but not recommended for tourists even if one can get the necessary permissions. The city remains under virtual lockdown. Residents have been threatened and ordered not to talk about the event and not to talk to outsiders at all. For local citizens, even a furtive mention of the event to the wrong person can end up with arrest and a prison term.
Again, Andijan is not recommended for tourists. Even the appearance of a conversation with a local can have drastic consequences.