Speaking in the course of the Open Dialogue (“Открытый диалог”) television program, Minister of Information and Social Development Dauren Abayev made a comment regarding the protest rallies over the presidential election in the country’s capital, Nur-Sultan, and Almaty.
He quoted one of the international observers as saying that Kazakhstan needed to develop a culture of protest actions and responding to them.
Several hundred demonstrators on the streets of Nur-Sultan and Almaty must not be taken as something extraordinary, Minister of Information and Social Development Dauren Abayev noted, while commenting about the recent protest rallies.
“We must all understand that elections are a powerful catalyst of political activity in all segments of the population. And people naturally choose their future through voting in the presidential election. That’s why they cannot remain indifferent to the election results. It’s quite normal. It is this very vigor that often become transformed into some kind of emotion which finds expression through taking actions such as pickets, demonstrations, etc”, he said.
He noted that demonstrations are commonplace in the world. Minister noted protest actions in Russia, France, Turkey, the USA and in Latin America as examples of such cases; cases in which tens of thousands of people took to the streets, and there were confrontations with police, arrests and detention of demonstrators escalated into harsh street violence.
“So, a few hundred demonstrators on the streets of Nur-Sultan and Almaty must not be considered as a reflection of something extraordinary. It isn’t something to be surprised about. Nothing terrible has happened”, Dauren Abayev said.
He recalled that the day before the elections, the Prosecutor General’s Office addressed the people of Kazakhstan and warned against taking part in illegal mass meetings on June 9. This was done for ensuring conditions of calm during the voting.
“A column of young guys were actually disturbing public order and public safety at night in Almaty. The call center at the Ministry of Internal Affairs received more than 1.2 thousand calls from ordinary residents of those areas, affected by such actions, asking to restore order and calm and to prevent further disturbances of public order. I think it fair to say that many were really worried”, Dauren Abayev explained.
He added that “the police may have overdid a little bit, but they managed to keep order, ensure calm on the streets, prevent the escalation of violence”.
“This is a great job carried out by our police officers. It seems to me what one of the European observers said went exactly to the issue: we in Kazakhstan need to develop a culture of protest actions and responding to them”, Dauren Abayev said.
According to him, the President’s statement on this issue would be the first step in that direction. Kazakhstan is learning long-term lessons from these events.
In an exclusive interview with Euronews, the new Kazakh leader Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said some of those arrested during protests over the recent election were detained by mistake and would be released. He noted that the government had got the message over the demonstrations.
Many protesters had “grievances” that “concern social problems”, the Kazakh president said. “I don’t deny those issues exist, mainly it’s linked to the population getting poorer, people demand the solution to their actual socio-economic problems”, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev noted.
For those who said the election was unfair, he said “it’s just their opinion. And my opinion is that, generally, the elections were fair, that’s it”.
“Our citizens are really concerned with the development of dialogue between the authorities and the society”, the new Kazakh President noted after taking an oath at the Independence Palace in the capital Nur-Sultan. Any talks “must be based on the recognition of the plurality of opinions”, he added. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said he would set up a special national council which must constitute a platform for national dialogue. According to him, it would first convene in August.