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Tajik Market Sellers Go On Hunger Strike

Protesters debate with Dushanbe officials over the future of the market.
DUSHANBE -- Dozens of merchants at Dushanbe's Zarnisor bazaar have announced they will begin a hunger strike to protest a Tajik court decision to demolish the market, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Shuhrat Qudratov, the protesters' lawyer, said the market is legal and no one has challenged its existence since it was established in 1995.

Boturkhon Talbakov, one of the bazaar's owners, told RFE/RL that in the last five years market officials have paid more than 13 million somoni (about $3.25 million) in taxes.

He said that according to a general plan of the city and the court's decision, Zarnisor -- which is situated in western Dushanbe -- should be demolished.

Dushanbe Mayoral Office spokesman Shavkat Saidov told RFE/RL that the city is ready to consider other options regarding the demolition.