KABUL, Afghanistan — Tens of thousands of Afghanistan’s ethnic Hazaras marched Monday 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 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 police fanned out and authorities restricted the protest organizers to a specific route that would bypass the palace.

The rally passed without major incidents but the protest underscored the political crisis facing Afghanistan as Ghani becomes increasingly isolated amid a stalled economy, rising unemployment, and an escalating Taliban insurgency, now in its 15th year.

Since taking office in 2014, Ghani has made little progress in keeping promises to bring peace and prosperity to the country. Instead, his administration seems to lurch from one crisis to another.

Though the power issue is specific to Hazaras, Ghani has also been criticized for not getting Afghanistan’s ethnic, sectarian, and geographically diverse groups on the same page – even as he casts himself as a leader of a “national unity government.”

Daud Naji, a protest leader, said the Hazaras were demanding access to a planned multimillion-dollar regional electricity line.

The so-called TUTAP line is backed by the Asian Development Bank with the involvement of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The original plan routed the line through Bamiyan province, in the central highlands, where most of the country’s Hazaras live. But that route was changed in 2013 by the previous Afghan government.

Leaders of Monday’s rally say the rerouting is evidence of bias against the Hazara minority, which accounts for up to 15 percent of Afghanistan’s estimated 30 million-strong population. They are considered the poorest of the country’s ethnic groups, and often complain of discrimination.

Bamiyan is poverty stricken, though it is largely peaceful and has potential as a tourist destination. Hazaras, most of whom are Shiite Muslims, were especially persecuted during the extremist Sunni Taliban 1996-2001 regime.