A rising mood of discontent has erupted in Kazakhstan against the dictatorial Nazarbayev government. Thousands participated in countrywide protests on Saturday May 21, only weeks after a rigged election took place. The protests were confronted by an enormous police operation.
Tensions were sparked by the government’s latest privatisation proposal. They want to sell off common land across Kazakhstan that has been a primary source of people’s wellbeing for centuries. This follows the regime earlier imposing huge price hikes on the population, with subsequent job losses.
In a state which allows only docile political parties and trade unions to exist, the government tried to repress the protest movement by blocking news channels and social media, detaining activists, and deploying tanks and special forces in some cities in an attempt to scare away demonstrators.
The protests are a good start but for this movement to succeed in toppling the repressive regime democratic organisations of struggle will have to be built. They must demand freedom of speech and the right to assemble. Ultimately, the only way to put an end to privatisations, poverty and unemployment is for the masses to take political and economic control of the country and rebuild society along democratic socialist lines.
By Robyn Trott
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