ZHANAOZEN, Kazakhstan (Reuters) – Kazakhstan voted on Sunday in an election that will admit a second party to parliament, in a small concession to democracy by President Nursultan Nazarbayev after deadly clashes in a mutinous oil town shook the country’s stable image.
In Zhanaozen, the oil town where at least 16 people were killed in December clashes between police and protesters, black-clad police, many armed with Kalashnikov rifles, patrolled the streets. Beneath billboard images of Nazarbayev, who has ruled since 1989 and has no obvious successor, voters braved a blizzard to cast their ballots.
ZHANAOZEN, Kazakhstan, Jan 15 (Reuters) – Kazakhstan
began voting on Sunday in an election designed to put a second
party in parliament and ease growing discontent after deadly
riots shook the image of stability prized by the veteran leader
of Central Asia’s largest economy and oil producer.
No one doubts President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s Nur Otan
party will win by a landslide. The second-placed party will also
be guaranteed a presence in the 107-seat chamber, whether or not
it clears the 7 percent entry threshold.
ALMATY, Dec 22 (Reuters) – Kazakhstan’s veteran
leader, facing the biggest challenge to stability in his vast
oil-producing nation, flew on Thursday to a western region hit
by violent riots and sacked some of the country’s top energy
officials over the crisis.
President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s arrival in the heart of
Kazakhstan’s oil industry coincided with growing international
pressure on Kazakhstan to investigate the violence.
ALMATY, Dec 22 (Reuters) – Kazakhstan has invited
United Nations experts to take part in investigating deadly
clashes in a western oil-producing region where at least 16
people were killed in the Central Asian nation’s worst outburst
of violence in decades.
The United States, the European Union and the Organisation
for Security and Cooperation in Europe have expressed concerns
about the violence and urged Kazakhstan to carry out a
transparent investigation into the riots.
ALMATY, Dec 21 (Reuters) – Opponents of Kazakhstan’s
long-time leader flew to the oil-producing west on Wednesday to
investigate deadly clashes that pose one of the most serious
challenges to Nursultan Nazarbayev’s two-decade rule.
Police clashed with protesters in the town of Zhanaozen last
Friday after a seven-month protest by sacked oil workers.
Fifteen were killed in the clashes that have shattered
Kazakhstan’s carefully cultivated image of stability.
ALMATY, Dec 18 (Reuters) – Riots in Kazakhstan’s
western Mangistau region, the deadliest in the Central Asian
state’s recent history, spread late on Saturday when one person
died and 11 people were injured as protesters clashed with
police near the village of Shetpe.
President Nursultan Nazarbayev declared a 20-day state of
emergency on Saturday in the oil city of Zhanaozen, located in
the same region, after at least 11 people were killed there in
an outbreak of violence on Dec. 16-17.
ALMATY, Dec 17 (Reuters) – Kazakh President Nursultan
Nazarbayev on Saturday declared a 20-day state of emergency in a
western oil city where at least 11 people have been killed in
the deadliest outbreak of violence in the Central Asian state’s
Wounded victims filled hospitals in Zhanaozen and many oil
workers stayed at home, fearing for their safety a day after
violent clashes between riot police and crowds in a city where
thousands of sacked oil workers have been protesting for months.
ALMATY, Dec 17 (Reuters) – Wounded victims filled the
hospitals of a western Kazakh oil city on Saturday and some oil
workers stayed at home, fearing for their safety after
Independence Day celebrations turned into the deadliest violence
in the ex-Soviet state’s recent history.
At least 10 people were killed when riot police clashed on
Friday with a crowd in the city of Zhanaozen, centre of protests
by nearly 1,000 oil workers sacked by state-controlled
KazMunaiGas Exploration Production.
ALMATY (Reuters) – Western governments have muted criticism of torture and rights abuses in Uzbekistan to preserve relations with the Central Asian state pivotal to supplying NATO forces in Afghanistan, a prominent human rights watchdog said on Tuesday.
New York-based Human Rights Watch said Uzbekistan, a former Soviet republic of 28 million people, had failed to keep promises to stop the use of torture, including electric shocks and simulated asphyxiation, in its criminal justice system.
ALMATY (Reuters) – That chilly day in December is etched in Anatoly Yankovoi’s memory — thousands of angry young Kazakhs faced police cordons rimming Brezhnev Square in the centre of what was then the capital of Soviet Kazakhstan.
“We were told they were drunken hooligans, but that was the beginning of the end. The end of the Soviet Union,” says the retired police lieutenant-colonel, choking up at the memory. “My heart is still aching, and the pain doesn’t go away.”