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Banned Kazakh Rally Ends Without Incident

Protester being arrested in Almaty on 26 February (AFP) 26 February 2006 -- A banned rally of some 1,000 opposition demonstrators has ended without incident in Kazakhstan's largest city, Almaty.

The participants were paying tribute to the co-chairman of the opposition Naghyz Ak Zhol (True Bright Path) party, Altynbek Sarsenbaev, who was found shot dead on 13 February, along with his bodyguard and driver.

The crowd broke through police lines several times during their march to the main square, as authorities warned over megaphones that the rally was illegal.

Opposition supporters demanded that those responsible for the killing be brought to account. Some called for President Nursultan Nazarbaev's resignation.

Five security-service officers and the head of the Senate administration, Erzhan Utembaev, have been arrested as suspects. It's not yet clear if the security-service personnel were rogue officers or operating under orders.


RFE/RL Central Asia Report

RFE/RL Central Asia Report

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