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Kazakh Protesters Picket National Bank After Currency Devaluation

Kazakhs Protest Currency Devaluation
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WATCH: Dozens of angry protesters marched to Kazakhstan's National Bank building on February 12 in Almaty following the devaluation of the national currency, the tenge. The protesters chanted, "Hands off our money," and demanded the resignation of the bank's chairman, Qairat Kelimbetov. Deputy Chairman Quat Qozhakhmetov met with the protesters and promised to try to prevent possible price hikes. (RFE/RL's Kazakh Service)

ASTANA -- Dozens of angry protesters picketed the headquarters of Kazakhstan's National Bank in Almaty on February 12, demanding an explanation for a decision to devalue the national currency, the tenge, by 19 percent.

Some protesters cursed bank Chairman Qairat Kelimbetov, using vulgar words and demanding his immediate resignation.

Kelimbetov's deputy, Quat Qozhakhmetov, met with the protesters and promised to try to prevent possible price hikes and to address their concerns over mortgage loans taken from banks in dollars.

Kelimbetov, who announced the decision on February 11, had said in December that no currency devaluation was foreseen.

Meanwhile, the current rate at exchange offices that continue to operate with dollars varies between 186 and 200 tenges for $1. The rate was $1 to 156 tenges on February 10.
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