On Friday, May 13, 2005, government forces surrounded a mass protest of thousands of people in the town square of Andijan, Uzbekistan.
Moments later they opened fire on the masses. Men, women, and children were mowed down as they fled from the square down the streets of Andijan.
Streets turned purple with blood, the world had not seen such a massacre since Tiananmen Square massacre in China in 1989.
And, like Tiananmen, no one knows for sure how many were slaughtered by the government of President Karimov, but estimates were set at 745 to more than 2,000.
On the square, shortly before the slaughter.
Family members were blocked from removing their dead off the streets on Saturday.
The BBC was able to report from Andijan the morning after the massacre,
As the hours passed it became clear that hundreds were dead from the violence in eastern Uzbekistan.
The wife of a slain protester embraces her daughter during funeral services in Uzbekistan’s eastern town of Andijan on Sunday.
Later, rows of bodies were lined up on the streets. Families came to identify the dead. Some bodies were loaded on buses and taken away in the night.
A funeral in Andijan, Uzbekistan for a 21 year old student killed by government forces on the bloody Friday May 13, 2005.
The US and Great Britain pushed for reform in Uzbekistan. In response, the Karimov government asked the US to give up its operations at the air base the US was leasing there and leave Uzbekistan.
Later in the year, the Karimov government held a sham trial against 15 “criminals” who it claimed started the violence. The Karimov government called the defendants “terrorists” hoping this would excuse their massacre in the eyes of the world community. The trial ended on November 15 with convictions against all 15 defendants. The 15 have been given heavy sentences, ranging from 14 to 20 years in prison, at the conclusion of a trial.
The BBC has a timeline on the events.
Central Asian expert, Nathan Hamm at The Registan, has a roundup of the events taking place this weekend. Nathan also mentions a protest of a handful of people yesterday where government officials ripped apart their banner in Tashkent.
The Associated Press has a very fair assessment of the US-Uzbek Alliance that fell apart after the massacre last year.
The US again today called for an international investigation into the killings last year in Andijan.