Tajik fans clash with police in new rioting

DUSHANBE – Hundreds of football fans clashed with police in the Tajik capital Dushanbe, the second outbreak of serious post-match rioting in barely a week, officials said Thursday.

Forty fans were detained for hooliganism after the visiting Ravshan team from the southeast of Tajikistan won 3-2 over Dushanbe’s CSKA-Pomir team, authorities said.

“Fans, excited by their team’s victory, left the stadium, blocked the traffic, threw rocks at police,” an interior ministry source told AFP.

Following the game late Wednesday, youths aged between 14 and 18 beat up drivers, smashed several cars and a police van and hurled rocks at the windows of nearby buildings, he said. At least one person was treated at a hospital.

“The mob was stopped only after a police task force group arrived. Many ran away,” an eyewitness said, according to local reports.

The violence was the second such incident in the last week in Tajikistan, the poorest of the former Soviet republics, a mostly mountainous nation of seven million people on the border with Afghanistan and western China.

The national football federation has fined Ravshan 3,000 Tajik somoni ($650 dollars, 450 euros) for clashes last week in the southeastern town of Kulyab.

In Kulyab, the fans threw rocks, bricks and plastic benches from the stands in protest against their team’s loss to Istiklol football club where Rustami Emomali, the eldest son of Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, plays as a striker.

The football rioting, believed to be the first such incidents in the country, is a major concern for authorities who are usually quick to crack down on signs of unrest and dissent.
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