01/28/2012, 00.00
KAZAKHSTAN
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Thousands of people in the streets against the Kazakhstan government

Protesters denounce fraud in recent parliamentary elections. At the Jan. 15 vote President Nazarbayev’s party won with 81% of the votes.
Almaty (AsiaNews / Agencies) - More than a thousand Kazakhs took to the streets this morning to protest against the latest parliamentary elections, in which the President Nazarbayev's Nur Otan party won with an overwhelming majority. Shouting "freedom", the protesters occupied the Republic Square in Almaty, Kazakhstan's largest city, despite the presence of hundreds of police.

The protest has received another boost with the arrest and imprisonment of three well-known opposition figures, which happened in the past days.

The Nur Otan, Nazarbayev's party won the recent parliamentary elections with 81% of the votes. However, the opposition complained of vote rigging and the exclusion of the main opposition parties over "procedural matters". Despite the entry of two new parties, analysts note that the change was only "nominal" because the leaders are members of the same political leadership that is identified with Nazarbayev.

The controversy comes just a month after protests from oil workers and police, in which 16 people lost their lives. The violence that took place in the city of Zhanaozen on the Caspian Sea, was the bloodiest in Kazakhstan since the fall of the Soviet Union.
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