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Tajik Flash Mob Protests Energy Shortages

"We regret the disintegration of the Tajik energy system."
"We regret the disintegration of the Tajik energy system."
DUSHANBE -- Internet users in Dushanbe have staged Tajikistan's first-known flash mob in order to protest the state electricity provider's inability to provide uninterrupted power supplies, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Some 30 people gathered on April 8 outside the headquarters of Barqi Tojik, the state energy supplier, carrying signs such as "We regret the disintegration of the Tajik energy system," and laid flowers at the main entrance.

Tajiks have had to deal with energy rationing since mid-March that has left people in the capital, Dushanbe, with power during the day but without power in the evenings. The amount of electricity available to the rest of the country has been distributed sporadically.

Tajik journalist Zafar Abdulloev explained the decision to organize the flash-mob action resulted from an exchange of comments on a Facebook page. Abdulloev described it as a symbolic funeral for the Tajik energy system.

A student named Sobit told RFE/RL that he found out about the protest through social networking.

Barqi Tojik spokesman Nozirjon Yodgori told RFE/RL on April 8 that he knows nothing about the flash mob.

He added that since March 23 the company has been trying on a daily basis to explain to the population that the reason for the energy shortages is the unseasonably cold weather that has prevented the snow from melting and filling the reservoirs at the hydropower plants.

Read more in Tajik here