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Uzbek Protesters Call for Release of Rebel Leader

Uzbek residents of Korasuv, hold a banner, reading "We are against terrorism" as they gather to protest arrest of Bakhtiyor Rakhimov
Hundreds of people have taken to the streets in Uzbekistan, calling for the release of a self-proclaimed Islamic leader.

Bakhtiyor Rakhimov was arrested near the border with Kyrgystan after his followers briefly seized the town of Korasuv in a failed Islamic rebellion last week.

Meanwhile, western diplomats, led by the European Union and the United Nations, have increased pressure on Uzbek President Islam Karimov to allow an independent probe of recent clashes in Andijan, which left scores of people dead.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Saturday expressed deep concern over Tashkent's rejection of a U.N.-led investigation.

Witnesses, human rights groups and Uzbek political opposition activists say the crackdown killed up to 1,000 people, but Tashkent puts the death toll at 169.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.

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