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Somaliland Chewers' Street March
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Buroa, Nov 30, 2003 (BBC) Hundreds of protestors have marched through the streets of a Somaliland town after the price of a mild narcotic leaf, known as Khat, was doubled.

The stimulant is widely chewed in the Somaliland and across the region.

At the end of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan demand soars and so do prices, but the BBC's Hussein Ali Nur says protests are quite unprecedented.

The security forces in the central town of Burao fired shots in the air to deter the marchers.

According to a journalist there, the authorities held an emergency meeting with Khat suppliers and agreed to drop the prices back down to nearer the pre-Ramadan level.

Many onlookers expressed said they would have been more supportive if they had been protesting about the price of food and other commodities, which have also increased dramatically this year.

There is a lucrative business in the mild stimulant, which is mainly chewed by men who sit in groups for long hours.

The Khat trade has been the cause of many disturbances in the past.


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