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Kabul locked down as Afghan authorities face power line protest

Afghanistan's Hazara minority marched on Monday to protest against the planned route of a multi-million dollar power transmission line

Baku. 16 May. REPORT.AZ/ Thousands of demonstrators from Afghanistan's Hazara minority marched through Kabul on Monday to protest against the planned route of a multi-million dollar power transmission line, posing a major challenge to the government of President Ashraf Ghani, Report informs referring to the Reuters.

Some protesters threw stones and tried to climb over shipping containers stacked up to block the streets into Kabul's government and diplomatic areas but no significant violence was reported by mid-morning.

The demonstrators are demanding that the planned route for the 500 kV transmission line linking Turkmenistan with Kabul be changed to pass through two provinces with large Hazara populations, an option the government says would cost millions and delay the badly needed project by years.

As well as the potential for violence, the rally underscores the political tensions facing Ghani's government as it fights the Taliban-led insurgency and tries to get an economy shattered by decades of war back on its feet.

"We want our rights," said Abdul Rauf Safari, 35, a protester from Ghazni, a city in central Afghanistan with a large Hazara population.

"We will no longer accept discrimination and there is no way the government can ignore us this time," he said.

Organizers have urged protesters to "shake the palace of despotism". Authorities have closed access to the presidential palace, fearing a repeat of last year's violence, when demonstrators tried to scale the walls.

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