Target: President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev
Goal: Protect anti-government protesters in Kazakhstan against increased intimidation and interference from police.
Protesters are being rounded up and arrested after flooding the streets all across Kazakhstan in response to changes in the country’s Land Code. These changes will privatize much of Kazakhstan’s public land through an auctioneering system that will effectively oust the poor from a livable share of resources. Authorities have responded swiftly to this swell of dissent, refusing to sanction the protests and arresting participants without due process. This is plainly unacceptable. The President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, must respect the right of citizens to speak out against the government.
Attempts to intimidate and interfere with the protesting public have taken a variety of forms under President Nazarbayev. Since assuming power in 1989, he has authoritatively condemned any form of dissent in his country. During the last major uprising, an oil workers’ strike, police opened fire on protesters and killed 14 people.
In response to these protests against changes to the Land Code, President Nazarbayev has pledged to apprehend and punish all of those involved. This was made clear when protesters who attempted to organize a news conference were forcibly arrested on their way to the location, along with a human rights activist and documentarian who was filming the incident.
This type of autocratic response to public dissent cannot be tolerated. Sign to demand that President Nazarbayev stop intimidating and interfering with these protesters in order to respect the right of citizens in Kazakhstan to speak out against their government.
Dear President Nazarbayev,
Your autocratic response to those protesting against changes to your country’s Land Code need to stop. Arresting and intimidating protesters is unacceptable. You must respect the right of citizens to express their dissenting opinions.
The methods you have employed, such as arresting organizers and intimidating them with verbal threats, are undemocratic and ultimately unwise. Much of the suspicion and frustration which has been expressed by protesters regarding changes to the Land Code result from exactly this type of oppressive behavior on your part. You are only angering the people of Kazakhstan and further damaging your already fragile relationship with the public.
The people have Kazakhstan have the right to speak out against their government. I urge you to stop intimidating and interfering with these protesters in order to respect their right to express dissenting opinions.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Aigerim Toleukhanova