Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/669/11960
May Day in Kazakhstan marked by attacks on socialists
The ruling parties in the former Soviet countries usually use May Day, international workers' day, in a cynical manner, organising official events to which people are expected to turn up to wave balloons and listen to speeches and pop music.
Having been prevented from organising their own event, activists of the opposition 'Kazakhstan 2012' movement and Socialist Resistance Kazakhstan (the Socialist Party's counterpart in Kazakhstan), decided to participate in the official event.
However, once the red flags had been unfurled the police waded into their part of the demonstration to remove any opposition activists. Socialist activist Ainur Kurmanov received head wounds after being kicked by police whilst on the ground. The leader of the 'Leave People's Homes Alone' campaign, Bakhytgul Ukteshbaeva, was also hurt.
As the oppositionists chanted "shame" and "stop police repression", other participants began to shout out their disgust at the police actions. Later a section of workers who had joined the official parade broke away in protest.
Through the night the KNB (political police) consistently harassed Ainur and his friends and comrades who had come to the hospital. Firstly they tried to pressure the doctor to change his diagnosis, to say he had not been hurt and then attempted to get Ainur to admit that he had organised an "unsanctioned protest".
Activists of Kazakhstan 2012 organised a round the clock presence at the hospital to protect Ainur. During the night prisoner rights activist Vadim Kuramshin was attacked by police. The authorities say they want to charge Ainur with organising an unsanctioned protest - he faces yet another 15 days in prison.
This attack comes against the background of an increase in strike action in the country, a new wave of prison disturbances and even more harassment of the opposition. On 2 May, the trial of Dmitry Tikhonov, charged with organising an "unsanctioned protest", began.
A video of the attack can be seen on: www.socialismkz.info/
For details of solidarity action and addresses for letters of protests, see www.socialistworld.net
In The Socialist 4 May 2011:
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Youth fight for jobs
Socialist Party editorial
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party feature
Already posted on the Socialist Party website