Kazakhs Cancel Proposal to Rename Riot Town on Lack of Support

A plan to rename the Kazakh town of Zhanaozen, where a strike by oil workers led to a deadly riot last year, was canceled because of a lack of support.

“This is a matter of time and must be resolved on the national level,” Serikbai Turymov, Zhanaozen’s mayor, said today in a statement on the Mangistau regional administration’s website. The proposal to change the town’s name to Beket Ata was made in October, according to the statement.

Police used armed force to suppress unrest in Zhanaozen last year after a strike over wages by employees of state- controlled KazMunaiGas EP sparked a riot during Dec. 16 Independence Day celebrations. President Nursultan Nazarbayev, in power since 1989, replaced top state officials and the head of the state oil company following the violence.

Prosecutors said in January that the unrest was prompted by “years of budget-money embezzlement” by local officials and oil-company executives. A Kazakh court issued sentences of three to seven years for those who took part in the unrest, Novosti- Kazakhstan reported June 4.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nariman Gizitdinov in Almaty at ngizitdinov@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Voss at sev@bloomberg.net

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