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Protesters In Kazakhstan Rally Against Land-Privatization Plan


Kazakhs In Two Cities Protest Land Privatizations
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WATCH: Protests were held in two Kazakh cities against a government decision to privatize agricultural land. At the rare public demonstrations in Kazakhstan on April 27, speakers called for the land to be kept in public hands and not rented to foreigners. (RFE/RL's Kazakh Service and amateur video)

Hundreds of people rallied in Kazakhstan's northwestern city of Aqtobe and northeastern city of Semei on April 27 to protest the government's decision to privatize public land through auctions beginning on July 1.

The protesters said the land should not be privatized or rented to foreigners. Local officials and police were present at the rallies. It was not immediately clear if the protests had been authorized by local officials.

The protests come three days after at least 1,000 residents of the western city of Atyrau protested against the government's plan.

On April 26, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev defended the plan to privatize public land, insisting that foreigners would not be allowed to buy the land -- only to rent agricultural land under 10- to 25-year leases.

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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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