12 december 2017

Central Asia news

Andijan: fed up with never ending problems, the population is protesting again

13.03.2006 18:59 msk

Staff correspondent

Ferghana Valley

Tenants of the multistory apartment buildings in the Severny block of Andijan organized a protest action on March 9. Numbering over 100, the protesters included women and young men.

The protesters blocked the junction near the military unit and shattered windshields of the cars whose drivers or passengers raised objections. Transport means were compelled to detour the impromptu protest rally to reach their destinations.

The Severny block is a housing project of the regional center (Andijan) but conditions in it are much worse than in rural areas. The locals say that they spent this winter without gas. They cooked and heated their apartments with electricity, but even electric power is regularly turned off now.

"Have you ever seen anyone using wood and coal to heat apartment buildings?" Zulfizar Khamidova asks what is clearly a rhetoric question. "It's been years since we've had gas in apartments. What our leaders are thinking about? Do they think they can do anything that pleases them as long as we remain silent, or what? We boil tea and cook on electric stoves. Every now and then they turn off electric power for whole days on end. Are our kids and we supposed to starve?"

The protesters maintain that electric power is turned off for hours every day now. Its absence does not make life, already burdened with numerous problems, any easier.

Law enforcement agencies were dispatched to disperse the impromptu rally. A traffic police officer who insisted on anonymity ventured the opinion that protests were a waste of time, that nobody cared about the people all the same. The officer is convinced that however frequent the protests may become, the regime is strong enough to crush them all.

Akhmadjon Jurayev of Andijan said that problems with electric power were typical of the whole city and that the population was already accustomed to them.

Executives of the Andijan Electric Power Company pin the blame on the population itself and refer to the population's "colossal" debts for electricity bills. They say as well that electric power is being turned off for economy's sake.

Current feed to the Severny block was restored approximately two hours after the protest action. Reports from Andijan indicate that electric power is available all over the city for the time being.

Residents of the Andijan region have been regularly protesting since 2003.

Pickets on highways and in front of the authorities' residences are the only option left Andijan women enraged with wage arrears, regular absence of electric power, and absolute absence of gas in tenements.