Kazakh authorities arrested 670 during election protests
June 13 2019 05:55 PM
Law enforcement officers detain a man during an opposition rally held by critics of Kazakh President
Law enforcement officers detain a man during an opposition rally held by critics of Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, who protest over his election in Almaty, Kazakhstan

Dpa/Moscow

Authorities in Kazakhstan arrested 670 people in protests accompanying the election of the country's first new president in three decades, according to a local media report.

The arrests were for attending unauthorized rallies, a senior official at the prosecutor general's office was quoted as saying by the news site Tengrinews.

Sunday's election was overshadowed by protests against what has been perceived as dynastic rule in the country, which has tolerated little dissent since gaining independence from the Soviet Union.

 Kazakh authorities had earlier reported that about 500 people were detained in the rare protests that rattled Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan's largest city and capital.

 It was unclear whether the arrests reported by Tengrinews all occurred that day or during protests following the election.

The chosen successor of long-time leader Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, was declared the election's winner, with the opposition seen as barely having had a chance.

The election was ‘tarnished by clear violations of fundamental freedoms,’ according to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which monitored the vote.

That protests were ‘forcibly broken up by law enforcement’ was ‘deeply disturbing,’ said George Tsereteli, leader of the organization's short-term mission of about 300 observers.



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