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Kyrgyz Villagers End Protest Against Chinese Gold Mining

BATKEN, Kyrgyzstan -- Hundreds of villagers in southern Kyrgyzstan have ended a protest against Chinese gold mining in the area after the local authorities promised to look into their grievances, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

The protesters, from the village of Daroot-Korgon, had blocked a major highway since August 4 to demand an end to operations by China's "Asia Gold Enterprise" and "Inter-Business Kaidi" at local gold mines.

The protesters say the two companies should abandon their operations because they are violating environmental safeguards.

One of the protesters, Nurbek Tagaev, told RFE/RL that the local authorities promised on August 16 that a special commission will check every mine in the region to determine whether the protesters' allegations are true.

It was also decided that the two companies should suspend all operations pending the results of those checks.

Local officials say the two Chinese companies have been operating in the region legally, with the appropriate license, and comply with local laws and regulations, including those on protecting the environment.

Read more in Kyrgyz here