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Published on Dec 16, 2011
Kazakhstani authorities have deployed army units and armored vehicles to the town of Zhanaozen to contain a thousand-strong protest that has already left at least ten people dead and many more injured.
The army units and armored vehicles have been deployed from the army base in the neighboring city of Aktau. Meanwhile in Aktau another rally is taking place in support of the Zhanaozen activists, according to unconfirmed reports.
The electric power supply has been interrupted in Zhanaozen and helicopters have been seen flying over the city, a local news site reports.
Eyewitnesses say that the police opened fire on the protesters to disperse the crowd. According to witness reports in Russian-language blogs the death toll might be as high as 70 with more than 500 injured.
The authorities have cut off the cellular and internet networks in Zhanaozen, so it is impossible to independently verify the figures or eyewitness reports. Twitter and other social networks were also blocked as soon as the violence erupted.