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Protesters, Officials Begin Talks To Ease Tensions In Volatile Tajik Region.

Protesters and government officials have begun talks to ease the latest tensions in Tajikistan’s remote Gorno-Badakhshan region, where the residents continued demonstrations for the fourth straight day on November 28, demanding justice for a man shot dead by police.

Gorno-Badakhshan acting governor Alisher Mirzonabot and several other officials and lawmakers were negotiating with some 40 representatives of protesters in the governor’s office in the provincial capital, Khorugh, police sources told RFE/RL.

Protests in Khorugh broke out on November 25 after security forces fatally wounded a local man wanted on charges of kidnapping. On that day, protesters brought the dead body of the man, Gulbidin Ziyobekov, to the town’s main square, demanding an investigation into the incident.

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 at least one person and wounding several others, sources told RFE/RL’s Tajik Service.

The city of Khorugh, which is the capital of Tajikistan's Gorno-Badakhsan region.

The city of Khorugh, which is the capital of Tajikistan's Gorno-Badakhsan region.

Violence continued in the following days. According to provincial prosecutors, protesters threw stones and wounded Aziz Ghiyoszoda, a member of parliament. That incident happened on November 27 when Ghiyoszoda along with the acting governor, Mirzonabot, came to the central square, unsuccessfully attempting to hold talks with the protesters.

Local residents say that up to 5,000 people were taking part in the rallies every day. However, the size of the demonstration on November 28 was considerably smaller with several dozen protesters gathered in front of the government headquarters.

Police also removed several checkpoints they had set up in the city after the tensions began.

Dismantling the checkpoints was among the protesters’ requests. They also demanded that the authorities cancel criminal probes the prosecutors opened against the protesters.

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.

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