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Kazakhstan: Astana Keeps Tight Grip on News as Unrest Spreads

Deadly unrest in Kazakhstan's oil-rich west has spread beyond the troubled town of Zhanaozen, leading to another clash between security forces and protestors in which one demonstrator was shot dead, bringing the death toll since Friday to 14.

The latest trouble began at the railroad station in the town of Shetpe 100 kilometers from Zhanaozen, where protestors blocked the railroad and disrupted train traffic, the prosecutor’s office said. Some dispersed at police orders, but a group of about 50 set fire to a train with Molotov cocktails before rioting in the town, after which police opened fire.

The train blockade began, the prosecutor’s office said, at 1:24 p.m. on December 17, spilling into violence at around 8:00 p.m. What the prosecutor’s office did not explain was why it buried news of the fatal clash by posting a statement on its website in the middle of the night. The news was picked up by Kazakh news agencies at around 3:00 a.m. on December 18.

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Kazakhstan: Astana Keeps Tight Grip on News as Unrest Spreads

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