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State Of Emergency Lifted In Kazakh Oil Town

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev
ZHANAOZEN, Kazakhstan -- The state of emergency that was imposed in mid-December in the western Kazakh town of Zhanaozen has been lifted.

The state of emergency was declared after clashes between striking oil workers and police left at least 16 people dead.

Reports say extra security forces have been withdrawn from the city, although a strong police presence on the streets remains.

The state of emergency was declared by President Nursultan Nazarbaev and was originally scheduled to end on January 5.

Nazarbaev extended the measure until January 31 and said last week that it would be lifted because the situation in the Caspian Sea town "had taken a normal course."

Nazarbaev initially blamed the violence on militants, but later dismissed several energy-sector executives connected with companies involved with the strikes.
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