Thousands Disperse After Peaceful Protest In Kabul


Thousands of demonstrators have started making their way home from the Deh Mazang area of Kabul city where they had gathered in protest over the planned rerouting of the 500kV power project line from Turkmenistan.

The protest was sparked by a recent decision to reroute a planned electricity line through Salang instead of Bamiyan. But on Monday the presidential palace said Bamiyan was to get 30 megawatts of electricity by 2023 but now, under the new plan, will get 300 megawatts of electricity by 2018.

However, unhappiness over the planned move grew over the past few days, culiminating in a mass demonstration on the streets of the capital. 

In a bid to prevent demonstrators from reaching the presidential palace however, government blocked access to the city center. The authorities cordoned off the entire city center with shipping containers. 

Addressing demonstrators, Daoud Naji, Director of the Social Sciences Center of Afghanistan, pointed out that despite government having cordoned off the city center, the sheer number of demonstrators could easily push their way through the blockades.

He said however, that the demonstrators chose not to do so and instead stayed behind the barricades.

Naji also said the public rejects President Ashraf Ghani’s commission tasked to review the controversial project.

Assadullah Saadati, an MP, later addressed the crowd and said the nation wants an accountable and responsible government.

“We want the government to stop conflict and answer to people’s demands,” he said.

Shortly before 1pm local time, Karim Khalili, a member of the high peace council, addressed the crowd and said he would ensure their message of protest was conveyed to the president and that they should return home. 

Within minutes the crowd started to disperse. 

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