Kazakhstan protests- government claims that situation is under control after five days of protests

 Government accused enemies behind the protest movement to destablise the country

The Kazakh government has claimed that the situation is under control after three days of mass protests across the country. It is difficult to verify the claim made the Kazakh regime from independent sources.  The intensity and scale of protests shaken the regime. The military now patrolling the city centre of Almaty the real epic centre of protest movement. The calm has return after violent protests and looting. 

It seems that protest movement has started to recede after reaching its peak on January 5 and 6. It seems that government has gain control of the streets in last two days as troops increased their presence. Regime has arrested more than 4,500 protestors so far. more than one thousand protestors and 800 police and army personnel have been injured. Dozens of people have also died.   

Russia has send nearly 3,000 troops to control the protests and to help the Kazakh regime. Russian president Putin has said that Russia will not allow any colour revolution to succeed. Russia and Kazakh president alleges that outside enemy forces wants to create instability and chaos in Kazakhstan which is considered as most stable conutry in Eurasia. 

The people has shown their anger and frustration against the government. The people have clearly shown that they are angry with the economic and social situation and wants a clear change and improvement.  

And the dynamics of this movement is indicative, since it began as a social protest, it then began to expand, and labor collectives used rallies to put forward their own demands for a 100% increase in wages, cancellation of optimization results, improvement of working conditions and freedom of trade union activity. As a result, on Jan. 3, the entire Mangistau region was engulfed in a general strike, which spread to the neighboring Atyrau region.

It is noteworthy that already on Jan. 4, Tengizchevroil oil workers went on strike, where the participation of American companies reaches 75%. It was there that last December 40,000 workers were laid off and a new series of layoffs was planned. They were subsequently supported during the day by the oil workers of Aktobe and West Kazakhstan and Kyzylorda regions.

At the same time, indefinite rallies on Tuesday began in Atyrau, Uralsk, Aktyubinsk, Kyzyl-Orda, Taraz, Taldykorgan, Turkestan, Shymkent, Ekibastuz, in the cities of the Almaty region and in Almaty itself, where the occupation of streets began on the night of Jan. 4-5 in an open clash of demonstrators with the police, as a result of which the city akimat (city hall) was temporarily seized. This gave rise to President Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev declaring a state of emergency.

It should be noted that these mobilizations in Almaty were attended mainly by unemployed youth and internal migrants living in the suburbs of the metropolis and working in temporary or low-paid jobs. And attempts to calm them down with promises by reducing the gas price to 50 tenge, separately for the Mangistau region and Almaty, have not satisfied anyone.

The decision of Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev to dismiss the government, and then removing former President Nursultan Nazarbayev from the post of chairman of the Security Council, also did not stop the protests, since on Jan. 5, mass protest rallies began in those regional centers of Northern and Eastern Kazakhstan, where they had not previously existed – in Petropavlovsk, Pavlodar, Ust-Kamenogorsk, Semipalatinsk. At the same time, attempts were made to storm the buildings of regional akimats (provincial governments) in Aktobe, Taldykorgan, Shymkent and Almaty.

The workers and protest movement are demanding the resignation of the incumbent president and all Nazarbayev officials, the restoration of the 1993 Constitution and the associated freedoms to create parties, trade unions, release political prisoners and end repression. A council of aksakals (elders) was immediately created, which became an informal authority.
The government has accepted some demands of the protestors and announced political and economic reforms to address the grievances and concerns of the people. 
                                                                            Khalid Bhatti        


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