MOSCOW - The Soviet government declared a state of emergency Monday in Dushanbe, capital of the Soviet central Asian republic of Tadzhikistan, after at least six ethnic Armenians were killed in attacks by residents. It was the second wave of attacks on Christian Armenians by Soviet Moslems this year. Almost 200 people died and hundreds were wounded in the Caucasian republic of Azerbaijan during about two weeks of ethnic violence in January. Some victims were killed when the Soviet army wrested control of Baku, the Azerbaijani capital, from militants to stop the attacks and prevent an overthrow of Soviet authority.
The official Soviet news agency Tass reported the violence in Tadzhikistan late Monday but did not give any casualty figures.
However, Masir Mazvanov, an editor of the republic's official news agency, Tadzhikta Tass, said by telephone from Moscow that at least six young men had been killed in rioting that began Sunday.
By Monday night, Soviet Interior Ministry troops were patrolling Dushanbe, and the local radio had announced the government's decision to impose a state of emergency and a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, Mazvanov said.
Several thousand people, mostly young men, had gathered in the city center Monday, many chanting that the city was being overrun by Armenian refugees from Azerbaijan, the editor said. The crowd began stoning buses and setting them on fire, Mazvanov said.
Other local journalists reported that the rioters had burned part of the Communist Party headquarters in Dushanbe and looted shops.
Although Tass did not say Armenians were the victims of the violence, nor give a reason for its eruption, local journalists and a Radio Moscow publication, Interfax, said mass rallies on Sunday and Monday had had an anti-Armenian theme.
Interfax said many of the chants during the Sunday rally concerned rumors that Armenians fleeing the trouble in Azerbaijan had been given housing before Tadzhikis who had been on a waiting list for a long time.
An Armenian National spokesman in Armenia, Alexander Arzumanian, said three plane loads of Armenian refugees from Tadzhikistan had arrived in the Armenian capital of Yerevan on Monday. The January fighting in Azerbaijan caused some 20,000 people to flee the state.
Most were Armenians, but other ethnic groups, including Russians, also left.