Tajikistan: Chinese workers at metals plant stage protest in demand to be allowed to travel home
“Tajikistan sees unusual protests, authorities react with force”, 21 May 2020
In an unusual development for Tajikistan, there have been two episodes of mass unrest… Both were suppressed by force.
Prague-based Akhbor news website reported that a crowd of Chinese nationals working at a metals plant in the north of the country staged an impromptu demonstration… in a demand to be allowed to travel home. Riot police dispatched to the scene, in the town of Taboshar… dispersed the crowd of around 100 people by firing gunshots into the air.
Travel between China and Tajikistan has been suspended since January, as soon as the potential danger of the coronavirus threat became evident. That has left a large number of now-jobless Chinese laborers stranded. According to official data, around 7,000 Chinese nationals live and work in Tajikistan.
Akhbor cited its unnamed sources as saying at least two workers at the Taboshar are suspected to have died with an illness bearing hallmarks of COVID-19. Workers have previously held unruly negotiations with management demanding to be given passage to their home country, but without any breakthroughs, Akhbor claimed. Frustrations culminated… with staff attacking the premises of their company, smashing windows and damaging cars…