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Kyrgyz Activists Protest Against Oil Refinery Construction

  • RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service

About 100 residents of the city of Tokmok in northern Kyrgyzstan are protesting against a new oil refinery.

They say that the refinery's operations, scheduled to start in weeks, will damage the environment.

Protester Zamir Kochorbaev, the leader of that nongovernmental organization Kyrgyz Measures, told RFE/RL on September 15 that if construction is not stopped, the protesters will block a major highway and set up yurts -- traditional Central Asian nomadic tents that are sometimes used for long-term protests.

An initial protest against the oil refinery was held in Tokmok on August 28.

There have been several protests across Kyrgyzstan in recent years in which demonstrators have blocked highways to demanding closure of mining operations, citing environment issues.

One led to changes in a contract with Canada's Centerra Gold Company for operations of the country's largest gold mine, Kumtor.