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Kazakh Protesters Arrested On National Holiday

Independence Day in Almaty
Independence Day in Almaty
ALMATY -- Almaty police say they detained 29 people today for a disturbance during demonstrations on Kazakhstan's Independence Day, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Almaty Deputy Mayor Serik Seidumanov told RFE/RL that the protesters were detained for "blocking public transportation on the street."

Dozens of young people marched to Almaty's city center after a concert held for the country's Independence Day.

Kazakh activists today also marked the 23rd anniversary of the start of massive, three-day student demonstrations against the Kremlin decision to replace then-Soviet Kazakhstan leader Dinmukhamed Kunaev with Russian Gennady Kolbin, who hadn't ever worked in Kazakhstan.

It was the first mass anti-Moscow gathering in the former Soviet Union during President Mikhail Gorbachev's term in office.

The protests were violently dispersed by security forces and several people died and many more injured in the crackdown.

Hundreds of other protesters were banned from universities. The exact number of those killed is unknown.

The Kazakh opposition says President Nursultan Nazarbaev was "on the other side of the barricade then."