Kazakhstan extends state of emergency in oil town

Kazakh riot policemen detain an opposition supporter during a rally in Almaty on December 17, 2011.

Story highlights

  • The clashes erupted last month
  • At least 16 people were killed and 80 were wounded
  • Initially, authorities had issued a 20-day state of emergency
Kazakhstan extended a state of emergency in the oil town of Zhanaozen, the site of deadly clashes, to the end of this month, state media said Wednesday.
Initially, authorities had issued a 20-day state of emergency after the December 16 clashes that left 16 people dead.
At least 80 people were injured in the clashes between police and striking oil workers in the town, according to state media.
The trouble came as the former Soviet republic celebrated its 20th anniversary of independence and prompted concern that unrest might spread across the oil rich Central Asian nation.
The protest was part of a long-running dispute over low pay and the sacking of some workers.
Kazakhstan has often boasted of its stability in a region that has seen its share of conflict. The ninth-largest country in the world by area, it has the largest economy of all the Central Asian states mostly because of its natural resources, according to the CIA World Factbook.