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In Kazakhstan, International Committee Established To Defend Zhanaozen Victims

  • RFE/RL's Kazakh Service

Riot police patrol in Zhanaozen on December 18.

Riot police patrol in Zhanaozen on December 18.

Kazakh politicians and rights activists have announced the creation of an international committee to defend the victims of the shootings in the southwestern town of Zhanaozen and activists arrested in connection with the violence.

At least 16 protesting oil workers were shot dead by police in Zhanaozen in December. Dozens were arrested afterward.

Leaders of the Kazakh Communist Party, the head of the Journalists In Trouble nongovernmental organization, and other activists on February 14 announced the creation of the Zhanaozen-2011 committee.

They told journalists in Almaty that human rights organizations in Kyrgyzstan, Poland, Russia, and Ukraine have expressed interest in joining.

Meanwhile, activists in Zhanaozen have asked local authorities to permit the holding of two separate public gatherings in the town later this month.

Authorities have not ruled on the requests.