Europe

Uzbekistan's autocratic president to be buried

  • People throw flowers on limousines as they gather along a road to watch the funeral procession of President Islam Karimov in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, early Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016. Karimov has died of a stroke at age 78, the Uzbek government announced Friday. (AP Photo/Umida Akhmedova)

    People throw flowers on limousines as they gather along a road to watch the funeral procession of President Islam Karimov in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, early Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016. Karimov has died of a stroke at age 78, the Uzbek government announced Friday. (AP Photo/Umida Akhmedova)  (The Associated Press)

  • People hold flowers as they gather along the road to watch the funeral procession of President Islam Karimov in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016. Karimov has died of a stroke at age 78, the Uzbek government announced Friday. Karimov will be buried Saturday in the ancient city of Samarkand, his birthplace, the government said in a statement. (AP Photo)

    People hold flowers as they gather along the road to watch the funeral procession of President Islam Karimov in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016. Karimov has died of a stroke at age 78, the Uzbek government announced Friday. Karimov will be buried Saturday in the ancient city of Samarkand, his birthplace, the government said in a statement. (AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

  • People throw flowers on the hearse as they gather along the road to watch the funeral procession of President Islam Karimov in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, early Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016.  Karimov has died of a stroke at age 78, the Uzbek government announced Friday. Karimov will be buried Saturday in the ancient city of Samarkand, his birthplace, the government said in a statement. (AP Photo)

    People throw flowers on the hearse as they gather along the road to watch the funeral procession of President Islam Karimov in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, early Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016. Karimov has died of a stroke at age 78, the Uzbek government announced Friday. Karimov will be buried Saturday in the ancient city of Samarkand, his birthplace, the government said in a statement. (AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

Islam Karimov, whose harsh and ill-tempered rule governed Uzbekistan for a quarter-century, is to be buried in his home city of Samarkand.

The death of 78-year-old Karimov, the only president Uzbekistan has had since gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, was announced by the government on Friday after he suffered a stroke. The end of Karimov's monolithic presidency leaves no apparent successor, as well as concern that the ensuing political uncertainty could leave an opening for Islamic extremists to coalesce.

On Saturday, thousands of Uzbeks lined streets in Tashkent as a cortege carried Karimov's casket to the airport, from which it was to be flown to Samarkand, an ancient Silk Road city renowned for its Islamic architecture.