Protests in Berlin, London, Vienna, Brussels Update 18:15 GMT Swedish Protests
Numerous protests were held in front of Kazakhstan embassies and consulates today in solidarity with protests and strikers in Kazakhstan, and against the violent repression carried out by the Kazakh regime. To see our coverage of the events that have been unfolding today click here. The months-long oil workers strike has set the backdrop today’s events. For previous coverage of the heroic struggle of the oil workers click here.
Below we publish reports and photographs of the protests which we have received so far.
Update: Protests in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Luleå
The shocking news about the massacre in Kazkahstan interrupted Christmas shopping outside Telia shops in central Stockholm, Gothenburg and Luleå in Sweden. Hundreds of leaflets were given out and almost 200 euros was raised from passers by to support the strikers.
There is no Kazakh embassy in Sweden, so the obvious choice of protest target was Telia. This former Swedish state telecom company controls 98 percent of all mobile telephone networks in Kazakhstan. In other words, it’s an important pillar for the Nazarbayev dictatorship.
A lot of passers by expressed solidarity and shock, and made their own comparisons to the regimes overthrown by revolutions this year.
Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI Sweden) members also contacted a lot of media and some union representatives about the news.
Protesters outside a Telia shop in Sweden
A group of members and supporters of LSP/PSL, joined by the staff of Paul Murphy MEP, protested outside the Kazakh embassy in Brussels earlier today. During the protest we were informed about the massacre taking place in Kazakhstan. The dictatorship of Nazarabayev is showing once again its true nature on the Kazakh Independence Day.
Protestors rally in front of embassy gate in Brussels
We went to the embassy to show our solidarity with the striking workers and other protesters in Kazakhstan. The embassy was closed due to the Independence Day, but a representative of the embassy did come to speak with us. He asked if we came to congratulate Kazakhstan on its independence day. We replied that the oil workers in the Mangistau region have little to celebrate. We immediately announced that we would come back and step up our protest given the terrible repression at this very moment.
Tanja Niemeier, who earlier this year visited the striking oil workers in Kazakhstan together with Paul Murphy, spoke to the protest explaining why our solidarity is so important,. We had brought slogans in English and Russian to show our solidarity with the workers and the slogan: “Stop Nazarabajev. Bring the Tahrir Square to Kazakhstan”.
As the situation deteriorated in Kazakhstan, with reports of brutal repression and killings, supporters of the struggle of Kazakh workers and poor against the Nazarbayev regime, including members of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) descended on the Kazakh embassy in London. The demo was planned as part of the Campaign Kazakhstan international day of action in support of the striking oil workers.
Protesters at Kazakh embassy in London
We will continue to take action, and build support among trade unionists, young people and wider society, for the courageous struggle of the oil workers and their brothers and sisters in the fight against the rotten regime
Protesters handing in protest letter
A protest was also held in Mansfield, in the East Midlands of Britain. It took place outside Marks & Spencer to highlight the fact that it and other retailers are investing in, and thus supporting, the Kazakh regime.
The banners explained that 70 oil workers had been shot dead the previous day. Shoppers were told that trade unionists were being persecuted and that big business is exploiting Kazakhstan’s natural resources such as oil.
The response to our petition was positive, and it was signed by the local MP and a councillor.
We were pleased to show our support for the oil workers and for all trade unionists in Kazakhstan.
Protesters in Mansfield
In response to the massacre of peaceful strikers and their supporters carried out by the Nazarbayev regime, SAV (the German section of the CWI) held a protest in front of the embassy in Berlin, handing in several documents. Most importantly, three MPs of Die Linke (German "Left" party) had signed a solidarity letter. We also gave the deputy ambasssador a letter from ourselves and one from SAV Rostock city councillor, Christine Lehnert.
The Deputy Ambassador accepted the protest letters as the police, who he had called, arrived.
Protesters outside Kazakh embassy in Berlin
There will be another protest in the city centre of Berlin at the beginning of next week.
Protests in Austria
Two protests took place against the Kazakh regime in Austria today. One at the Consulate of Kazakhstan in Graz and one at the Honorary Consulate in Vienna
At the protest in Graz passers by were shocked to hear about the developments in Kazakhstan today and responded very positively to the protesters speeches.
Protest in Vienna
In Vienna a representative of the Consulate came out and was handed a letter protesting against the massacre.