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Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Kazakh police permit first unsanctioned rally

From ferghana.ru:

Deputy of the parliament Zauresh Batalova met with her voters in the center of Alma-Ata on October 8. Russian media outlets seem to have missed importance of the event entirely but Ferghana.Ru news agency is convinced that it may be remembered in history of Kazakhstan as the first successful action staged by opponents of the regime. Navi.Kz reports nearly 2,000 participants of the impromptu rally in Alma-Ata. Representatives of practically all parties and movements of the opposition addressed the rally.

"Zauresh as such does not matter," a protester told Ferghana.Ru. "What counts is that the opposition staged an unauthorized action. And the cops, they proved unable to do anything about it. Or did not want to? In any case, this is the first time something like that is happening in Kazakhstan. As a rule, actions off this sort end in dispersal, administrative trials, and 15 days in a detention cell. But not today!"

Acting legislation permits deputies of the parliament to meet with their voters. Organizers of the rally applied for official authorization and were denied it on the pretext that the rally would "interfere with traffic". Suspecting that the ban would unlikely stop the determined opposition, city fathers promptly arranged some sort of a kid festival in the square where the rally was to be held and posted police units all around it.

Speakers at the rally (prominent opposition leaders Batalova, S. Abdildin, B. Abilov, O. Zhandosov, G. Yergaliyeva, A. Kozhakhmetov, A. Kosanov, I. Savostina, T. Tokhtasynov, and others) demanded release of dissenter Galymzhan Zhakiyanov from prison and an end to harassment of independent media outlets.

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