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Mass protests against regime take on Kazakhstan cops
Clare Doyle, Committee for a Workers' International
Hundreds and thousands of people - young and old - set out to join countrywide protests on 21 May against Kazakhstan's vicious Nazarbayev regime.
They were met with an enormous police operation to prevent them reaching the squares for the demonstrations. But, "the people have awoken!" as one campaigner put it. This movement is unlikely to subside any time soon.
It erupted on the issue of land sales (see 'Anger against Nazarbayev expressed on the streets' at socialistworld.net) which is a sensitive issue in Kazakhstan. Land is seen as the primary source of people's wellbeing. It has been held in common over the centuries and is still in state hands.
Discontent has been fuelled by a huge drop in the country's income from oil and uranium. The population is made to pay, while Nazarbayev's clique is mired in corruption. Recent revelations in the Daily Mail have confirmed that Prince Andrew is up to his eyes in dirty deals! Anger against the regime as a whole is boiling over.
In the days before the planned mass protests, dozens of government critics, human rights activists and media personnel were rounded up and given administrative detention for ten days to two weeks. In some cities, tanks and 'special forces' were put on the streets.
The videos and reports that have come out of Kazakhstan show determination to confront the regime and the police. Fear is dissolving as the struggle intensifies to end the 27-year rule of the super-rich dictator Nursultan Nazarbayev.
The urgent need now is for representatives agreed by the demonstrators to draw up plans for new protests and put forward slogans that can build a mass force.
Campaign Kazakhstan has suggested a programme for such a task, and welcomes comments that can assist the workers and young people involved in this crucial fight. Join the protest at the Kazakh embassy, 26 May at 1pm, 125 Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5EA (near Trafalgar Square).
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