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Kazakh Activists Against Baikonur Operations, New Nuclear Plant

Representatives of more than 30 nongovernmental organizations in Kazakhstan have urged President Nursultan Nazarbaev to sack recently appointed Energy Minister Vladimir Shkolnik.

The activists marched to Nazarbaev's offices in Astana on September 3 and put their petition into a special box for letters addressed to the president.

One of the activists, Maqsat Iliasuly, told journalists the petition was against the Moscow-supported idea to build a nuclear-energy plant in Kazakhstan.

The protesters also demanded that Russian space program operations at Kazakhstan's Baikonur space complex must be stopped due to environmental issues.

According to the protesters, Shkolnik has giving high priority to Russian interests and putting "Kazakhstan’s national interests aside."