London protest against state repression and in solidarity with oil workers
On Wednesday September 29, members of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) organised a lobby in front of the Kazakh embassy in London, protesting against the increasing repression faced by activists involved in struggles for social and democratic rights in this country (see our previous article on socialistworld.net)
This protest took place after the Kazakh authorities laid charges against two nationally known leaders of the ‘Socialist Movement Kazakhstan’, Ainur Kurmanov and Esenbek Ukteshbayev. These two are outstanding fighters for workers and the oppressed and have been imprisoned many times before because of their work. They are currentlty heavily involved in campaigns such as “Leave Peoples Homes Alone”. This campaign is aimed at defending working families against being brutally evicted from their homes by the Kazakh authorities.
Socialist Party members protesting outside Kazakh embassy
The lobby was also aimed at publicising and supporting the courageous oil workers’ strike in Western Kazakhstan. The strike has been ongoing for months now. In response to their heroic struggle, the workers involved have been faced with systematic intimidation and threats as well as severe repression. The regime has gone so far as to arrest and prosecute the oil workers’ lawyer, and even savagely murder two strikers’ relatives.
During our protest, the Kazakh ambassador arrived. We were able to express to him our determination to step up the international campaign against the way the dictatorship in Kazakhstan deals with its opponents. The ambassador initially denied there was any dictatorship in Kazakhstan, suggesting our source of information was probably the movie “Borat”! But when we explained our sources and all of the facts outlined above, the ambassador was totally unable to provide any answers.
The Socialist Party is determined to bring wide spread international attention to this campaign and the brutal, dictatorial character of the Kazakh regime. The Socialist Party will continue to give vigorous support to struggles for democratic and social rights in Kazakhstan and to fight resolutely against any case of repression, such as those related to Ainur and Esenbek. A protest letter with a petition signed by many activists was delivered to the ambassador.