Afghan capital locked down for large minority Hazara rally
Tens of thousands of Afghanistan's ethnic Hazaras marched yesterday through downtown Kabul, demanding the government reroute a planned power line through their poverty-stricken province so they can get more access to electricity. The massive protest reflected widespread dismay with the administration of President Ashraf Ghani.
Concerns that the protest could turn violent prompted the police to block off roads leading into the city's central commercial district. Stacked shipping containers prevented the marchers from reaching the presidential palace.
A November rally by Hazaras protesting the beheadings of members of their minority by militants had turned violent.
Most of Kabul's shops were shuttered as armed police fanned out and authorities restricted the protest organizers to a specific route that would bypass the palace.