Kazakhstan: More international solidarity protests

Protests in Dublin, Moscow and Aachen

Following reports received yesterday of protests held in Berlin, Vienna, London, Stockholm, Brussels and other European cities, in solidarity with the workers of Kazakhstan and against the vicious Nazarbayev regime, we publish below reports of even more protests which have come in.

Reports coming from the striking oil workers and their supporters in Kazakhstan now suggest up to 150 have been murdered by state forces for initiating peaceful demonstrations yesterday, 16 December. You can read our coverage of the events yesterday here. You can also view our previous article about solidarity protests here. We will post more news, analysis and commentary in English as it comes to hand.

The latest developments, via sources on the ground in Kazakhstan, are being constantly posted on the CWI Russian website.


Protest in Aachen, Germany

On Friday night, 16 December, in the centre of Aachen a rally was held by socialists and left-wingers to protest against the massacre of oil workers and their supporters in Kazakhstan and to show solidarity with their struggle.

Two speeches explained the Kazakh oil workers’ heroic struggle, which has lasted more than half a year, and the regime’s brutal repression. [You can read previous articles for background on the oil workers struggle here – Socialistworld.net] Even though there was heavy rain and ice cold temperatures people stopped to listen. It was very important to explain the situation, because almost no mass media in Germany is giving any information about the massacre, the corrupt regime’s violence, and in short, the reality of the situation in Kazakhstan.

Protesters in Aachen

Friday’s attack showed the Kazakh dictatorship’s fears of the developing opposition to its rule. We explained how the regime is striving to suppress any opposition before the “elections” – sure not to have a shred of democratic credibility – scheduled for January. But there comes a time for every dictatorship! We will keep up our support for the oil workers in Kazakhstan and to help in drawing the day when the Nazarbayev regime falls closer!

Protest in Dublin

Paul Murphy, MEP for the Socialist Party (CWI Ireland) and other members of the Socialist Party held a picket in solidarity with the Kazakh workers who were attacked by state forces on 16 December.

Protesters in Dublin

The picket was received strong support from passing motorists. Many people intending to use the garage turned away when they found out the reason for the picket.

The forecourts of the garage were practically deserted for an hour while the picket was in place. Gardai (Irish Police) were called to try to move the picket, but after a short debate they quickly left.

The picket was very successful and spread the news about the outrageous attack on the workers to passers-by.

Protest in Moscow

As soon as we heard about heard about the bloody events in Zhanaozen, we, members of the CWI in Moscow, turned in a request for a permission to picket in front of the Kazakh embassy on 21 December. It is legally impossible to register for an earlier protest. However, understanding the urgency of the situation we made the decision to have solitary protests right away, despite the law.

At 5pm two of our comrades approached the police who were guarding the embassy of Kazakhstan in Russia and explained the character of our protest in order to avoid being arrested. Unfortunately, the Russian state has for a long time – just like the regime in Kazakhstan – understood democracy only as a carte blanche for privileged state administrators and big business people…

After we unfolded a poster that read “At this moment, a peaceful protest of workers on strike is being shot at in Kazakhstan“. We maintained our protest for an hour. People stopped in shock at the sight of our banner, and couldn’t bring themselves to keep walking easily. Many, only glimpsing our poster, changed their facial expression and moved on, totally shocked about what they had just read. Some were courageous and announced they were ready to support the Kazakh workers in their struggle, for example at our protest on Wednesday, 21 December.

It was youth and women who had emmigrated from Kazakhstan who showed the most active interest in the events. Kazakh emigrants are well aware of the brutal represion that the Nazarbayev regime has carried out in the past and what it is capable of. The youth, we think, understand that the same thing that is happening in Kazakhstan could soon be repeated in Russia, too. One shouldn’t forget the politicisation of the population in large Russian cities recently after the latest mass protests against the rigged elections. Generally, information about how the Zhanaozen workers have been treated should echo loudly in the upcoming mass protests in Moscow. We can learn from the example set by our Kazakh brothers and sisters in the struggle about the kind of democracy we need, the kind of justice.

It is worth mentioning the sympathy from the police and the way they treated us. While talking to them I saw sympathy, and horror for the fact that one day the same orders given to Kazakh state forces could be given to them as well. The most important thing was that there was no apathy, at least not coming from rank and file policemen. They didn’t even ask us, as they traditionally would, how much we were paid for holding this protest. Evidently they understood that two young guys who got out of work to stand in the rain for over an hour, who drew a poster on two glued A3 sheets of paper with a marker were powered by class solidarity, not money. We hope that we will be able to draw the lessons for Russia from the tragic experience in Kazakhstan.

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December 2011