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Temporary Court Besieged As Kazakh Riot Trial Starts

  • RFE/RL's Kazakh Service

AQTAU, Kazakhstan -- Hundreds of people besieged a temporary court at the start of proceedings against 37 defendants accused of involvement in deadly unrest in Kazakhstan’s southwestern city of Zhanaozen.

The case revolves around clashes with protesting oil workers in the city late last year, during which police shot dead at least 16 people.

Those on trial are accused by authorities of stirring up the unrest that led to the violence.

Supporters of the defendants reject the charges, accusing police of the bloodshed.

An overflow crowd of hundreds sought to attend the trial's opening on March 27 at a temporary courtroom in the city of Aqtau, and activists complained the facility is not big enough to accommodate observers.

Shortly after the opening, the judge postponed proceedings until later the same day after a juvenile defendant failed to appear at the court.

With Reuters reporting
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