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Tajik Parliament Bans Hunger Strikes In Public Places

Angry and well-fed, presumably.
DUSHANBE -- The lower house of the Tajik parliament has voted to ban hunger strikes in public places and in front of government buildings, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

The ban is among several amendments to the Law on Assemblies, Demonstrations, and Peaceful Protests and to the Administrative Code that were approved by the Majlisi Namoyandagon on June 1.

Deputy Interior Minister Said Jurakhonov said the amendments clarify the term "hunger strike" and stipulate the administrative punishment for active participants of illegal demonstrations.

The move marks the first time the term "hunger strike" is mentioned in legislation as a form of social protest.

Parliamentarians also clarified procedures for the use of rubber bullets and live ammunition against participants in mass disturbances.

Dushanbe-based political analyst Mirhusein Nazriev said the main purpose of a hunger strike is to try to focus public attention on a given problem and that prohibiting hunger strikes in public will make that difficult to do.

Majlisi Namoyandagon Chairman Shukurjon Zuhurov and other political figures argued on June 1 that it was illegal assemblies and demonstrations after the collapse of the Soviet Union that plunged Tajikistan into civil war, and that is why they support restrictions on them.

Other deputies noted that violence in southern Kyrgyzstan last year began with unsanctioned demonstrations.

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