Astana: Dozens of people have been detained by police at two rallies in Kazakhstan calling for the release of political prisoners in the Central Asian state.
In Astana, demonstrators rallied on May 10 in a district of the capital where many foreign embassies are located, chanting “Freedom to political prisoners!” and “Shame on the government!”
In the country’s largest city, Almaty, protesters held up portraits of political prisoners and posters with slogans like “Stop torture!” and “No to politically motivated imprisonments!” In both cities, police quickly stepped in and detained an unspecified number of protesters and even individuals not taking part in the rallies.
In Astana, police told RFE/RL that they would release details on those detained later. In Almaty, police at the scene refused to comment, telling RFE/RL to refer to the city police department. On May 9, human rights defenders in Kazakhstan told RFE/RL that about a dozen activists were summoned by police regarding their plans to organize the rallies that were spearheaded by the banned Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan (DVK) movement.