A coalition of political opposition and trade union groups staged a 3,000-strong rally and procession in central Almaty yesterday to protest economic conditions. Speakers and marchers urged the government to recognize the social costs of economic reform and to reorient policy "in favor of the majority of the populace." They also accused the authorities of corruption and "betrayal of the people’s interests," and called for the resignation of the government and for new parliamentary elections to create a government of national trust. Participants were divided on the issue of calling for President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s resignation and for a campaign of civil disobedience. (Interfax, Itar-Tass, December 8)
The rally, which was authorized, was the latest in a recent series of mostly unauthorized actions organized by a leftist and left-of-center coalition of political and trade unions groups. They include the Azamat movement, the Communist Party of Kazakhstan, the Independent Trade Unions’ Confederation, and other groups, mostly cutting across ethnic lines. The authorities have warned several of the leaders of these groups that they may be prosecuted for violations of public order.
Tajik Government Launches Offensive Into Opposition-Held Region.