The arrest of dozens of protesters tarnish the elections in Kazakhstan


The detention of dozens of protesters in the main cities of Kazakhstan
they tarnished today the presidential election, the first since independence in 1991 in which the father of the Central Asian nation, Nursultan Nazarbayev, does not take part.

The nearly 12 million Kazakhs who were called to the polls in the presidential elections began voting at 07:00 local time (01:00 GMT) and finished exercising their right to vote at 20:00 (14:00 GMT).

The police have arrested many of the people who have protested all over the country

"Shal, ket!" ("Old man, go!"), Shouted the demonstrators who gathered in front of the Youth Palace, in the old town of the Kazakh capital, a protest witnessed by EFE. They were referring to Nazarbayev, 79, who left the presidency in March, but remains the shadow leader at the head of the influential Security Council.

The riot police equipped with shields and batons, which outnumbered the protesters, proceeded to detain without protest all the participants in the protest, many of them young.

Many protesters have been arrested in Nur-Sultan

Many protesters have been arrested in Nur-Sultan
(Vyacheslav Oseledko / AFP)

They were forcibly taken to the buses and police vans that were parked in the square, which was closed to traffic. "Kazakh executioners!" Shouted one of those present in the square, while an old woman with a handkerchief on her head shrieked: "Allah, tojtandar!" ("By Allah, stop!").

The police arrested all the young people who were in the square and recorded incidents and arrests with mobile phones. The main war cry of the protesters was "Shame!" And "Boycott!" most opposition parties opted for the boycott of the presidential elections.

The Ministry of the Interior reported that the organizer of the protests is an extremist and proscribed organization known as the Democratic Elections of Kazakhstan (DVK, acronym in Kazakh) and headed by Abliázov. He specified that only "the most active" were arrested, but on the social networks appeared information and images of journalists arrested and beaten.

The favorite is the successor of the current president, something that motivated the boycott of the opposition to the elections

With respect to the news that an old man died during one of the police charges, Interior reported that he simply lost consciousness. The authorities had warned in recent days against the plans of some groups to call protests during and after the election day.

The current president and pro-government candidate, Kassim-Yomart Tokayev, recommended this morning to the security forces that are tolerant of the dissidents, but warned that the government will not close its eyes to serious violations of the law.

Many citizens have called for a boycott of elections

Many citizens have called for a boycott of elections
(Igor Kovalenko / EFE)

Tokáyev, 66, is seen as the big favorite to victory, according to the few polls released by the local press. The major powers support an orderly transition with Tokayev at the forefront to guarantee his multimillion dollar investments in a country with huge natural resources.

The second candidate in contention is the journalist Adzhirman Kasónov, the first opponent to run for office in 14 years, although the main democratic opposition party called for an electoral boycott.

Regardless of the outcome, these elections will also go down in history because for the first time since the advent of democracy in Central Asia a woman, Daniya Yespáyeva, participates in the presidential race.


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