Arrests Made At Kazakh Opposition Protest

Kazakh police have detained at least six activists during a protest organized by the unregistered Democratic Party of Kazakhstan in the southeastern city of Almaty.

Dozens of protesters participated in the rally, chanting for Nursultan Nazarbaev, the former authoritarian president who is still considered to rule the country from behind the scenes, to “go away.”

The demonstrators demanded the release of political prisoners, condemned the government's plan to use a Russian company to digitalize some state systems, and expressed solidarity with oppressed Muslim minorities in China's northwestern Xinjiang region.

The Democratic Party was legally registered by the Justice Ministry in December 2020, but the group was unable to hold a Congress in February because party activists had been arrested and detained.

Kazakh law requires that a party's founding congress be attended by at least 1,000 people.

Kazakhstan has been run along authoritarian lines by Nazarbaev and his successor, Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev, since gaining its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

During their rule many opposition figures have been jailed or forced to flee the country.