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Kazakh Activists Detained Over Land Privatization Protests


Kazakh Police Break Up Activists' News Conference
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WATCH: Police in Almaty, Kazakhstan shut down a news conference called by activists who were discussing plans for protests in the city. About a dozen activists were detained when police intervened on April 29 outside Almaty's Press Club.

Police in Almaty detained about a dozen Kazakh activists on April 29, including well-known journalists and rights defenders.

Authorities detained the activists as they were preparing to stage a press conference and call for a public meeting about the government's decision to privatize large tracts of state-owned agricultural land.

On April 28, police in Kazakhstan’s western city of Aqtau dispersed dozens of local residents who were protesting in the city center against government plans to auction off public land to private owners beginning on July 1.

Hundreds also have rallied in the cities of Atyrau, Aqtobe, and Semei since April 24 against the privatizations, amid rumors that foreigners would be allowed to purchase the land.

The government says foreigners will only be allowed to lease agricultural land.

Kazakhstan's Prosecutor-General Zhaqip Asanov warned on April 28 that it is a crime to spread "false information about land privatization."

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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."

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