Violence and a hunger strike as squatters in Almaty, the second-largest city of the former Soviet republic, battle to save their homes. The municipality wants the land, so the rumor goes, to turn it into a car racing track. So far, they have repulsed the police incursions and only a handful of homes have been destroyed. The Institute for War and Peace Reporting has the story.
"Because the [squatter-held] area does not technically exist in the eyes of the municipal authorities, there are no public utilities such as water, electricity and gas," IWPR notes. How typical: people are denied services on a technicality. As a squatter told the reporter, "Like all citizens of this republic we have equal rights to land." I would add: And equal rights to services, too.