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Kazakh Union Activist Fined Over Labor Protest

QARAZHANBAS, Kazakhstan -- A labor union activist in Kazakhstan's western Manghystau Oblast has been fined for taking part in a protest by striking oil workers last week, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Natalya Sokolova told RFE/RL that the Tubqaraghan district court in Manghystau Oblast fined her $150 on May 24 for "taking part in an illegal mass gathering."

On May 17, hundreds of workers at the Qarazhanbas oil and gas field in Manghystau joined a strike begun by several co-workers earlier this month.

The strikers also gathered en masse in Qarazhanbas that day to demand a pay rise and the lifting of restrictions on the activities of independent trade unions.

Sokolova said a second administrative case was filed against her after she attended another mass gathering by striking workers on May 21.

She said the strike is continuing.

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