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Kazakhs Protest Against Land Privatization Plan


There have been protests against land privatization in various parts of Kazakhstan since April 24 amid rumors of corrupt scams and nontransparent sales.

Dozens rallied in Kazakhstan’s western city of Oral on May 4 to protest the government's decision to auction off public land to private owners beginning in July.

Police cordoned Oral's central Abai Square, where the demonstrators gathered. The city authorities tried to persuade the protesters to leave, but the crowd refused.

Instead, the protesters demanded a meeting with the regional governor, Altai Kolginov, and an official promise that "the land will not be on sale."

Protests against land privatization have been carried out in the cities of Atyrau, Aqtobe, Qyzylorda, Zhanaozen, and Semei since April 24 amid rumors of corrupt scams and nontransparent sales in which foreigners would 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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