Dozens detained at Kazakhstan protests over activist’s death
In Kazakhstan, police detained dozens of demonstrators
Activists took to the streets on Independence Day calling for democratic reforms and the release of political prisoners
For the second time in a few hours, the security forces of Kazakhstan detained dozens of activists who took to the streets with calls to expand the rights of citizens and release political prisoners.
On December 16, police detained at least 50 demonstrators in the Kazakh capital, Nursultan, and about 40 in the country’s largest city, Almaty, according to Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty correspondents. Independence Day is celebrated in Kazakhstan on this day.
The protests also coincided with the 33rd anniversary of the massive anti-Soviet demonstrations known as Zheltoksan (December) and the 8th anniversary of the brutal crackdown on oil works in Zhanaozen. Demonstrators urge to declare December 16 as a mourning date in memory of these events.
A city official in Nursultan tried to convince the protesters to disperse, insisting that the action was not sanctioned by the authorities, but the crowd ignored his calls.
Demonstrators demand democratic reform and want governors and judges to be elected, not appointed by the government.
In the early morning of December 16, police detained about a dozen people, including a journalist, and last week at least 20 activists were detained in Nursultan and Almaty and sentenced to imprisonment for up to 15 days on charges of disobeying the police and holding unauthorized actions.
The latest report from the human rights organization Human Rights Watch notes that in 2018 “there was no significant improvement in the unsatisfactory human rights situation in Kazakhstan.” The organization emphasizes that the authorities do not allow peaceful protests.
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