In #Kazakhstan, nationwide #protests have been taking place since January 2. Triggered by the sudden surge of liquid #petroleum gas (LPG) prices, used to fuel cars, the protests are bringing to light the vast #socio-economic and #politicalissues within the country. The protesters are now also fighting against the suffocating rule of Kazakhstan’s autocratic #government and demanding political #liberalization.
Over the past week the protests have intensified. Chaotic scenes of clashing bodies, police beating citizens, arrests, and burning buildings have now flooded the news. Hundreds of people have been detained and many injured. Protesters have stormed government offices in #Almaty, set fire to buildings, and took over the airport.
In response to the escalating protests, #President#Kassym-JomartTokayev instituted a state of emergency and ordered a nationwide social media blackout. Social media apps such as Facebook, WhatsApp, and Telegram have been blocked in the country, and will be switched back on with heavy governmental #censorship.
As of this past Friday a “shoot to kill without warning” order was given to troops stationed throughout cities in Kazakhstan. The party in power has banned all opposition parties and prosecuted opposition activists in the past. The autocratic structure of the Kazakh government has demonstrated great resilience, until now.
The steps taken against the protesters by the Kazakh government are clear violations of #humanrights. Right now, there is a major #crackdown in the country on anti-government #activists, human rights advocates, and independent #journalists. There have been reports of economic hardship, inequality, with people of low-incomes, women, and children being especially vulnerable within Kazakhstan.
Human rights activists and advocates call upon the Kazakh government to respect the right to peaceful assembly, free speech,and to uphold its international human rights obligations. We call upon the government to recognize their citizens’ distress and retract its “shoot to kill without warning” command against their citizens, for this is the most grotesque violation of all.