Protesters from Campaign Kazakhstan held protests at several Kazakhstan embassies yesterday condemning the actions of the Nazarbeyev regime
In London, Campaign Kazakhstan and the Socialist Party chanted “Free all political prisoners” and speeches of solidarity with protesters fighting against land privatisation and for democratic rights against the corrupt regime. The embassy locked the doors as soon as the protest arrived and refused to accept the letter, but they did send someone outside the building to take photos. It clearly rattled them that people will continue to expose the nature of the Kazakhstan regime and protests will continue in Kazakhstan and abroad.
The following letter was handed in to the embassy in London, followed by protest letters sent to Kazakhstan embassies in India, Canada, Australia and Sweden. A letter was also handed in to the embassy in Berlin, where the officials promised “a reply”!
26 May 2016
To the Government of Kazakhstan
We have organised a picket today – with representatives from political and trade union organisations in Britain – to protest at the vicious repression of basic democratic rights in Kazakhstan.
In recent days, you have rounded up and held in prison dozens of activists, journalists and human rights representatives in order to try and prevent a peaceful protest movement developing.
We demand their immediate release and the dropping of all charges against them. All political prisoners in Kazakhstan should be released. The right to demonstrate peaceful opposition should be respected and demonstrations allowed to go ahead. Genuinely free elections should be allowed at all levels of society.
We will do all we can to publicise the dictatorial nature of your government and its corrupt links with businesses and dignatories in Britain and elsewhere. We wholeheartedly support those who call for basic democratic and human rights to be implemented in your country.
on behalf of Campaign Kazakhstan and all the organisations affiliated to it.
Date : 25-05-2016
We are writing this letter to show our concern and condemn the appalling deterioration of Human Rights situation in Kazakhstan.
As we pen this letter of protest, new mass demonstrations across the country of Kazakhstan are taking place mainly organised through social media. Though they were originally about the land issue, but now they are taking on a different dimension. Problems such as housing, social spending, pensions etc. which all points to the failure of the present administration headed by the President himself.
Last week activists in cities – Astana, Almaty and the oil-producing region of Atyrau – were arrested and charged with “planning illegal public rallies”. They are being held for 15 days in an attempt to frighten people off from attending Saturday’s protests. Two other activists in Astana – Makhambet Abzhan and Maksat Nurypbayev – have been charged with “hooliganism” and jailed for ten days. All these are clear violation of fundamental Human Rights.
We as socialists and human rights defenders urge your government to stop these viloations of the citizens of your country and restore all fundamental rights, including right to assembly and association.
Jagadish G Chandra
New Socialist Alternative (CWI-India)
Mr Konstantin Zhigalov, Ambassador
Kazakh Embassy in Ottawa, Canada
150 Metcalfe Street, Suites 1603-1604
Ottawa, ON K2P 1P1
May 26, 2016
Dear Mr Konstantin Zhigalov,
It has come to our attention that the Kazakhstan government has been attempting to restrict democratic rights and arresting people who were expressing their opposition to government plans to sell large areas of land to Chinese businesses.
The reports of police seeking to intimidate people before the demonstrations even took place, of widespread media censorship and arrests are all worrying, un-democratic actions.
Canada has important trade and other links with Kazakhstan. Socialist Alternative has members active in unions, community groups, student organizations and faith communities in Canada.
Yours in concern
National Organizer, Socialist Alternative Canada
To whom it may concern,
I write this urgent letter on behalf of the Socialist Party (Australia).
The right to demonstrate is a fundamental right in a civilised modern democracy. The anti-democratic measures, which the Kazakhstan government have taken against its own people, in the last week is further proof that Nursultan Nazarbayev, the President of Kazakhstan, is no democrat.
The opposition of ordinary Kazakhs to the Nazarbayev government’s plans to sell vast swathes of Kazakh land to Chinese business concerns has been repressed by the police and security forces. Media broadcasts have been censored or prevented from taking place. There has been a virtual media blackout both within Kazakhstan and to the outside world.
Known activists and critics of the regime have been warned not to take part in any demonstrations. Some, disgracefully, were arrested in the days before the demonstrations had even taken place. Some have had “visits” from the police, others have been warned by telephone, and still more have been called into local police stations for a “discussion” and a “warning”.
Despite this intimidation, thousands of protestors showed their opposition to the land sell-off on the 21st May. In some cases, protestors had to find routes around a maze of security forces deployed to stop any demonstrations taking place. In many towns and cities, a game of “cat and mouse” took place, as demonstrators tried to avoid being arrested by the police.
The security forces have not fired on the demonstrators, as they did on striking oil workers in Zhanaozen, in 2011, however, dozens of arrests have taken place. Protests against these arrests are being planned to take place outside Kazakh embassies around the world and more importantly inside Kazakhstan itself.
The demonstrations on Saturday against the land sell-off were the most coordinated protests across Kazakhstan as a whole so far. The fact that demonstrations took place in most of the main cities at the same time is significant. They are an indication of the growing deep-rooted opposition to the dictatorship.
Far from intimidating the opposition forces in Kazakhstan, government repression will only encourage further protests against Nazarbayev and his corrupt government.
On behalf of the Socialist Party in Australia I demand that the Kazakh government release of all those arrested in the run-up to the May 21 protests and the drop of all charges against them. On top of that the government should release of all political prisoners held in Kazakhstan’s jails on trumped up charges.
I look forward to your swift reply and urgent action being taken.
Socialist Party (Australia)
Sweden: Kazakhstan solidarity
Free all protesters detained in the last two weeks!
Free all political prisoners in Kazakhstan!
With brutal police violence, state forces in Kazakhstan attacked people demonstrating on Saturday 21 May. We have witnessed videos showing the brutality used, as well as pictures of special forces and even tanks on the streets in some cities.
We are also well aware of the history of the regime, with election fraud, enormous corruption and its dictatorial violence, most visible in the massacre at Zhanaozen in 2011.
We defend the democratic right to protest against the plans for privatisation of land, to be followed of further privatisations. These privatisations would have devastating effects for working people that are already suffering.
We demand the immediate release of all protesters detained in the last two weeks and of all political prisoners in Kazakhstan.
Stockholm 26 May 2016
Mattias Bernhardsson and Lina Rigney Thörnblom, city councillors for Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna in Haninge, south Stockholm
Jonas Brännberg and Britta Berggren, city councillors for Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna in Luleå, north Sweden
Per-Åke Westerlund, national chairman, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna