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Kazakh Opposition Party Refused Permission For Nationwide Protests

ALMATY -- All of the opposition Azat party's regional branches in Kazakhstan were refused permission by local authorities to hold protests on February 21, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Officials claimed that other events will be held around the country on the same day in the same localities, forcing them to deny Azat permission.

For example, in the western Kazakh town of Atryrau, a gathering devoted to the anniversary of the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan will be held.

In several northern regions, Azat officials were told that there will be various sporting events on February 21.

Azat was only given permission for a rally in Almaty.

Azat officials said they will ask regional authorities for permission to hold protests the next week, on February 28.