Kazakh police broke up anti-government protests across the country on Saturday, detaining dozens of protesters and cordoning off the main squares of major cities.
Opponents of President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has been in power since 1989, had called for rallies in all major cities, extending a series of demonstrations that started last month in response to plans to privatize large tracts of farmland.
The protests, which have become an outlet for expressing general discontent with the government, are the Central Asian nation’s biggest for more than a decade and continued on Saturday despite pre-emptive detentions of many activists and warnings from the authorities.
At least 100 protesters gathered at one police checkpoint that blocked access to Almaty’s main square. Similar-sized groups tried to enter the square at other points, some sang the national anthem.
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