Thousands of terrified Uzbeks waiting to flee across the border into Kyrgyzstan stormed government buildings, torched police cars and attacked border guards Saturday in a second day of violence spawned by an uprising against the iron-fisted rule of U.S.-allied President Islam Karimov.
The Uzbek leader blamed Islamic extremists for the revolt and said his troops were forced to shoot demonstrators Friday as they tried to break through police lines. Witnesses counted more than 200 civilians dead.
Karimov said 10 government troops and "many more" militants died and at least 100 people were wounded in Friday's fighting in the eastern city of Andijan, which lies in the fertile but impoverished Fergana Valley, just a few miles from the Kyrgyz border.
Soldiers loyal to Karimov fired on thousands of demonstrators Friday to put down an uprising that began when armed men freed 2,000 inmates from prison, including suspects on trial for alleged Islamic extremism.