In the end, no one showed up; Tajikistan’s authorities made sure of that. But why was the government so concerned about an obscure group of exiles calling for protest in the first place?
Earlier in October, a businessman living abroad who is not well-known or well-liked at home, issued an appeal via Facebook, calling on Dushanbe residents to take to the streets to protest Tajikistan’s long-serving strongman president, Emomali Rahmon. Umarali Kuvatov, an entrepreneur who fell out with Rahmon and fled Tajikistan several years ago, used slogans like “Tajikistan without Rahmon,” and called for supporters to march on Dushanbe’s Dusti (Friendship) Square on October 10.
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