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Two Opposition Activists Say Assaulted In Western Kazakhstan

AQTAU, Kazakhstan -- Two opposition activists in western Kazakhstan say they have been assaulted in the western city of Aqtau, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

The two are both members of Kazakhstan's opposition People's Front movement.

One of the activists, Azamat Zhaqsyghaliev, told RFE/RL that two unknown men attacked him and his colleague Marlan Esilbaev at around 10 p.m. local time on September 1 near the People's Front office.

Another member of the movement, Asqar Shaighumarov, told RFE/RL that Zhaqsyghaliev sustained a concussion and Esilbaev a cranial injury.

The People's Front movement has been involved since May in monitoring and coordinating the ongoing strike by thousands of oil workers in western Kazakhstan. The strikers are demanding the same rights as foreign workers, a wage increase, and the lifting of restrictions on the activities of labor unions in the region.

A lawyer for the workers, Natalya Sokolova, was sentenced last month to six years in jail for "igniting social unrest." The workers are demanding her release.

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