In Uzbekistan, where public protest is strictly controlled, reports have emerged of picketers targeting the Swiss Embassy after the arrest of Uzbek citizens in Switzerland on suspicion of money-laundering.
Regional news site Centrasia.ru reported that the Swiss Embassy in Tashkent was picketed by a group of 10-11 people carrying placards saying “Shame on Switzerland!” on August 4. The report said the mini-demo was a protest against the detention in Geneva of two Uzbek staff members of Coca-Cola Uzbekistan, named as Aliyer Irgashev and Shahruh Sabirov (the latter was named in other sources as Farruh Saberov).
Citing “sources,” Centrasia.ru suggested the protest had been organized by a foundation run by Gulnara Karimova, eldest daughter of President Islam Karimov -- the Forum of Culture and Art of Uzbekistan (Fund Forum for short). Neither the foundation nor Coca-Cola Uzbekistan immediately responded to emails requesting comment late on August 8.
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Joanna Lillis is a freelance writer who specializes in Central Asia.