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Tajikistan Celebrates First Flag Day Since Independence

Runners take part in a multiday relay with the Tajik flag.

Runners take part in a multiday relay with the Tajik flag.

DUSHANBE -- Tajikistan today celebrated National Flag Day for the first time since it gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Some 300 students marched through Dushanbe's main street with a 90-meter-long Tajik flag to celebrate the holiday.

Tajik President Emomali Rahmon signed a law last week establishing National Flag Day, making Tajikistan the second country in Central Asia after Turkmenistan with such a holiday. Rahmon said on November 23 that the Tajik flag is one of the most important symbols of the country and worthy of celebration.

As part of the festivities, 22 runners completed a multiday relay of several hundred kilometers in which they carried a Tajik flag from the town of Regar on the Tajik-Uzbek border to the site of the future Roghun hydropower station.

Some workers at Roghun told RFE/RL that although they are proud to be part of the event, they are unhappy about not being paid on time by the government.

There are currently some 600 people working at Roghun, which is designed to help Tajikistan deal with the energy shortages it currently faces each winter.