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Kazakh Homeowners Protest Mortgage Interest Rates, Foreclosures

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Dozens of homeowners have held a rally in Kazakhstan's largest city, Almaty, protesting "excessive mortgage interest rates and foreclosures."

Some 30 protesters gathered in front of the Kaspi Bank headquarters in Almaty on June 7 with posters saying: "Why Are Banks' Debts Signed Off, And Not Ours?"

The bank's Executive Director Vladlen Kim met with the protesters and promised to look into each individual case.

Two weeks ago, dozens of homeowners from Kazakhstan’s different regions rallied in Astana also demanding that their mortgages be revised.

The protest ended with some demonstrators being arrested.

Two organizers of the protest and a journalist were sentenced to several days in jail and two demonstrators were fined for taking part in the unsanctioned public protest.
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    RFE/RL's Kazakh Service

    RFE/RL's Radio Azattyq has been an important source of information for people in Kazakhstan for decades. In 2009, Azattyq won the prestigious 2009 Online Journalism Award for "standing in defense of citizen’s rights to seek and receive information."