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Protests Continue In Tajikistan For Third Straight Day

Several thousand people protested in Gorno-Badakhshan on November 27.
Several thousand people protested in Gorno-Badakhshan on November 27.

Rare protests in Tajikistan’s remote Gorno-Badakhshan region continued for a third day on November 27, after one protester was killed and five members of law enforcement were injured when a crowd stormed a local government building.

Several thousand people protested in the provincial capital, Khorugh, on November 27. According to unconfirmed reports, police opened fire on demonstrators, several of whom were reportedly injured.

Protests in Khorugh broke out on November 25 after security forces lethally wounded a local man wanted on charges of kidnapping.

Protesters brought the dead body of the man, Gulbidin Ziyobekov, to the town square on November 25, demanding an investigation into the incident, RFE/RL’s Tajik Service reported.

Some in the crowd then attempted to seize the building of the regional administration using "firearms, stones, and sharp objects," wounding four members of the security forces and a staff member of the prosecutor's office, the state security service said in a statement.

In response, security forces fired on protesters, killing one of them and wounding several others, sources told RFE/RL’s Tajik Service.

According to the regional prosecutors’ office, Ziyobekov, 29, was "injured" when security forces raided his home in a nearby village on November 25. He and accomplices are wanted for allegedly beating and kidnapping a prosecutor last year. Another man was reportedly injured during the operation and later died in a hospital.

Authorities said Ziyobekov had resisted arrest and opened fire on officers, but they made no mention of his death.

Protest were also held on November 26, when crowds brought the coffins of two people killed the previous day to the central square in Khorugh.

Protests are rare in the tightly-controlled nation of 9.5 million where President Emomali Rahmon has ruled for nearly three decades.

Tensions between the government and residents of the nominally autonomous Gorno-Badakhshan region have simmered ever since a five-year civil war broke out shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

A linguistically and ethnically distinct region, Gorno-Badakhshan has been home to rebels who opposed government forces during the conflict.

With reporting by AFP and Reuters

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