Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 94

For the third consecutive day yesterday thousands rallied in Leninabad region’s capital Khojent, Tajikistan’s second-largest city, to protest against the policies of the Dushanbe government. Prime Minister Yahye Azimov and internal affairs minister Saidamir Zukhurov, who rushed to the scene, agreed under pressure to satisfy the protesters’ demands to enlarge Leninabad’s powers, remove special "anti-crime" police units and presidential guard units from the region, replace the regional police commander and other law enforcement officials with natives of the region, entrust humanitarian aid distribution to local officials, and stop immigration into the region from other parts of Tajikistan. The demonstrators have advanced additional, unspecified political demands. (Itar-Tass, Interfax, Western agencies, May 14)

Last week’s murder of a prominent local businessman triggered the protests. The demands illustrate the alienation from Dushanbe of some regional and clan interests, including ethnic Uzbek clans strongly represented in the northern Leninabad region. Those groups joined forces with the southern Kulyabi clan in the post-Soviet civil war only to see the latter clan acquire a disproportionate share of power and economic spoils following their Russian-assisted victory.

…As Resistance Consolidates Latest Gains.