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Protesters in Tajikistan Return Home

RIA Novosti

14:23 24/08/2012 DUSHANBE, August 24 (RIA Novosti) - Protesters in the eastern Tajik town of Khorog have cleared out of the central square that was the site of three days of mass protests calling for government troops to withdraw from the region after an accord with the government was reached, a local journalist told RIA Novosti on Friday.

“Now the situation in the city is calm. As soon as people found out about the signing of the agreement, they returned to their homes,” the journalist said.

About 2,000 protesters had gathered in front of the regional administrative building to demand the withdrawal of government troops from the restive Gorno-Badakhan autonomous region, which shares a long border with Afghanistan. They also demanded an explanation for the death of local leader Imumnazar Imumnazarov, a rebel commander during the country's civil war in the 1990s, who was killed in an explosion at his home on Tuesday.

Representatives of the government, law enforcement agencies and public organizations in Khorog signed the agreement on Thursday night. It calls for the protest to end, exempts protesters from liability for participating in the unsanctioned rally, and recalls soldiers to their barracks in the city.

On July 24, Special Forces from the Presidential Guard, the National Security Committee, and the Interior Ministry held a special operation near Khorog against an armed group believed to be behind the murder of a top Tajik security general. Thirty members of the group were killed and 40 detained. Seventeen law-enforcement officers were killed and 40 were injured during the operation.

The 1992-1997 civil war in the impoverished former Soviet republic is estimated to have killed more than 60,000 people.

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