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Charges Read Against 37 For Kazakh Riots

Defendants in Zhanaozen riots case look out of a glass cubicle during a court session in the Caspian port city of Aqtau on March 27.
Formal charges have been leveled against 37 Kazakh men in a trial focusing on the deadly unrest in December 2011 in Kazakhstan's southwestern town of Zhanaozen.

The trial began on March 27 in the regional capital of Aqtau but was delayed in chaos due to overcrowding of the temporary courtroom in a youth center.

Eight suspects are charged with organizing mass rioting.

Nineteen are charged with using violence against security forces and 10 face minor public-disorder charges.

Police shot dead at least 16 people in Zhanaozen in mid-December during a protest by oil workers who had been fired after going on strike.

The judge on March 28 banned journalists from using recording devices in the courtroom.

With reporting by AFP and ITAR-TASS