Kazakhstan election: Tons of arrested in ballot protests


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Media captionFootage from town of Almaty reveals protesters being led away by police

Police in Kazakhstan have arrested tons of of individuals protesting in opposition to a ballot to elect the nation’s first new president in 30 years.

The election was known as after long-time chief, Nursultan Nazarbayev, 78, stepped down in March.

His hand-picked successor, interim President Kassym Jomart-Tokayev, is extensively anticipated to win the vote.

Protesters and opposition candidates claimed Sunday’s ballot was not free and truthful.

Mr Tokayev, 66, disputes their claims and has described the method as democratic and open.

Giant-scale protests – the largest the nation has seen in years – in opposition to the election have been reported in Kazakhstan’s capital, Nur-Sultan, and its largest metropolis Almaty.

At these protests, tons of of peaceable demonstrators calling for a boycott of the vote, and a number of other journalists and activists monitoring them, have been detained by police.

Kazakhstan’s deputy inside minister Marat Kozhayev mentioned 500 individuals had been arrested at “unsanctioned rallies”, AFP information company stories.

A BBC correspondent in Nur-Sultan has seen individuals being dragged onto buses by riot police.

Mr Tokayev, who forged his poll within the capital, has urged police to train restraint. He advised the BBC his authorities could be tolerant in the direction of these with completely different views.

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Why are there protests?

Mukhtar Ablyazov, chief of banned opposition group the Democratic Selection of Kazakhstan, urged his supporters to take to the streets in protest over Sunday’s vote.

Believing the vote to be a sham with a predetermined end result, the fugitive banker had known as for peaceable protests in cities throughout the nation on Sunday and Monday.

In a video posted to social media, he mentioned “hundreds of protesters” had gathered in Almaty’s Astana Sq..

Demonstrators chanted “boycott” and “police with the individuals” earlier than their protests have been damaged up by authorities.

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Protesters have been seen being dragged into buses by riot police in Nur-Sultan

The prospect of a democratic handover of energy in Kazakhstan is “an phantasm”, Human Rights Watch has mentioned.

The Organisation for Safety and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which despatched greater than 300 observers to observe the ballot, has by no means recognised an election within the nation as absolutely democratic.

Aslan Sagutdinov, who was arrested final month for holding up a clean placard at a protest, advised AFP that he didn’t intend to vote within the ballot.

“In case you vote in unfair elections you’re permitting them to say they’re truthful,” the video blogger, from north-western city of Uralsk, mentioned.

Mr Tokayev was working for the ruling get together – with backing from Mr Nazarbayev – in opposition to six little-known rivals.

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Kassym-Jomart Tokayev is extensively anticipated to win

What’s the background?

In March, Mr Nazarbayev, the one man to steer the nation because it emerged from the collapse of the Soviet Union within the early 1990s, shocked the nation by asserting his resignation.

Mr Nazarbayev mentioned he wished to pave the way in which for “a brand new technology of leaders”, however remains to be anticipated to retain a lot of his affect as head of the governing get together.

He has been largely unchallenged as chief of the oil-rich nation since 1989.

Mr Tokayev, a profession diplomat and Mr Nazarbayev’s inheritor obvious, turned the brand new interim president.

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Given his shut hyperlinks to the outgoing president, the legitimacy of the presidential election has been met with scepticism.

Mr Tokayev’s first determination as interim president was to rename the capital Astana as Nur-Sultan in homage to Mr Nazarbayev.

Kazakhs react to their capital metropolis’s title change

That call, which went forward with out public session, fuelled disillusionment with Kazakhstan’s authorities.

Within the build-up to the election, authorities have reportedly been cracking down on opposition to Mr Tokayev’s interim presidency.

Protesters have been sentenced to brief stays in jail and police have been raiding activists’ houses, based on AFP.

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