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Kazakh Activists Protest Rocket Launches After Accident

Dozens of activists rallied in Astana on May 16 demanding an end to launches of Russia's Proton-M carrier rockets from Kazakhstan.

The activists gathered in front of the building of Kazakhstan’s space agency, KazGharysh, and handed their petition to the agency's representatives.

One of the protesters, Bolatbek Balilov, told RFE/RL that the petition demanded the resignation of KazGharysh Chairman Talghat Musabaev.

The action was held the same day a Proton-M with a Russian-built communications satellite burnt up in the Earth’s atmosphere after the rocket failed to reach its intended orbit.

A Proton-M accident also occurred in July.

The burning rocket fuel created a toxic cloud at that time, angering Kazakh authorities who say such failures damage the environment and pose a health threat.

In November, Astana requested almost $90 million in financial compensation from Russia for the rocket crash.
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