Demonstrations Continue in Kazakhstan

When changes in the Land Code that allow non-Kazakhstani citizens to rent and buy land went into effect in April, protests began. Many are concerned that Chinese investors will buy up land.

A variety of protests have been taking place since then. Here are some of the latest.

The Kazakh government has been becoming more repressive since Kazakhstan’s independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Press freedom has been curtailed. But the government has responded to the protests with restraint (photo from here).

It’s not clear whether the protests are related. The government has arrested a businessman, Tokhar Toleshev, who is accused of encouraging the riots over the Land Code. The government has also implied that Islamic extremism may be a factor. What the government calls counterterrorist operations continue in the northwest region of Kazakhstan, adjacent to Russia. Internet access to the region has been cut off.

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