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Kazakh Police Detain Journalists Ahead Of Planned Rally

Journalists and rights activists who planned to rally in support of a Kazakh magazine that was ordered closed last month were reportedly detained by police as they left their homes.

Gulzhan Erghalieva, the editor of Adam Bol (Be Human), wrote on Facebook on January 24 that "police are arresting journalists, one after another, as they leave their homes and taking them to the district police station to 'acquaint them with the law.'"

Erghalieva is on the sixth day of a hunger strike, protesting the decision to close down Adam Bol.

She said she could see police waiting outside the magazine's office where Erghalieva has been since the start of her hunger strike.

"They're waiting for me," she wrote.

Erghalieva was arrested not long after posting that message.

Local civic activists had planned to hold a rally at Republic Square called "meeting with readers" in Almaty at 12 p.m. local time.

A blogger at the scene, Dina Baidildayeva, reported that around 30 people had gathered with some holding signs in support of the magazine and Erghalieva.

Prosecutor Baurzhan Zhumakanov arrived at the rally and told the demonstrators that they were violating the law, but he departed without any arrests being made at the square.

Among those reportedly detained before they could reach the site of the rally were Ayan Sharipbaev, the chief editor at Adam Bol, and journalist Miras Nurmukhambetov.

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