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Tajik Women Protest Demolition Of Their Homes

Some 30 women staged a protest today outside the presidential palace in Dushanbe against the unannounced demolition of their homes, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

The women told RFE/RL that on February 18 some 200 Interior Ministry officers and local officials cut the electricity and water to their homes without prior warning and ordered the demolition of their houses, which are located in the Qushteppa community of the Rudaki district south of Dushanbe.

They said some 50 newly built houses were destroyed, and officials warned they will also demolish older homes in the area.

Qushteppa resident Tokhtakhon Shodibekova told RFE/RL on February 19 that immediately before the demolition, officials explained to residents the houses would be destroyed because they were built illegally. Shodibekova said the housing plots in Qushteppa were given to them in 2006 on orders from President Emomali Rahmon.

She said the Prosecutor-General's Office and the Anticorruption Agency conducted separate investigations and gave the green light for the homes to be built. The local officials who ordered the demolition declined to answer questions from local residents or journalists about the reasons for the action.

On February 19, Qushteppa resident Farida Nabieva told RFE/RL that she spent several years working in Russia to save money to buy land to build a house. Nabieva said she and her three sons now have nowhere to live.

Presidential administration officials promised the women that a delegation will visit Qushteppa within three days to address their demands for a halt to further demolitions and to give financial compensation for those who have been left homeless.

Read more in Tajik here: and here