Arrests Continue In Restive Kazakh Area

Activists who Kazakh authorities suspect of playing a role in the violence in the western city of Zhanaozen in December are still being rounded up by authorities, according to reports from the region.

The website reported that Natalya Azhigalieva, Ayman Ongarbaeva, Zhanara Saktaganova, and Estay Karashaev were all taken into custody on February 17 and accused of inciting social unrest and organizing a mass disturbance.

The website reported more than 100 people are being kept in jails in the Mangistau Province for their suspected roles in the December 17 unrest — which left 17 people dead in the Zhanaozen area after disgruntled strikers clashed with police — or for helping organize demonstrations by striking or laid-off oil workers who started their protests back in May 2011.

Other detainees since the bloodshed have included members of civic groups tasked with looking into the circumstances around the deaths, and locals report sweeps searching for people who contributed video images or other clues outside official channels to the events of December 17.

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