Letter of protest to Kazakhstan ambassador over repression of protests

Sunday 9th January 2022.

Ambassador Erlan Idrissov,

125, Pall Mall

St James

London

SW1Y 5EA

Dear Ambassador Idrissov

Doctors in Unite branch of the UK and Ireland trade union Unite is writing to you to protest at the brutal repression of demonstrators throughout Kazakhstan and the state of emergency in Almaty and Mangistau. It is a basic human right to be able to demonstrate. Kazakhstan is once again revealing itself as an old fashioned dictatorship rather than a modern democracy.

We reject the ‘official’ view of the demonstrations as being led by “extremists, terrorists and radicals” which is put forward on your website. The demonstrators are ordinary working-class people – men, women and young people who have seen their standards of living cut, while the privileged elite and oligarchs at the top of Kazakh society enjoy a lavish lifestyle. The demonstrators recognise that for the last thirty years Nazarbayev and his family and friends have corruptly run the country at the expense of the workers. Tokayev is nothing but a puppet of Nazarbayev, which is why many of the demonstrators have been shouting “Down with the old Man”.

The use of tear gas and other methods of repression must stop immediately. As Trade Unionists, we will be taking these issues up with UK companies that invest and work in Kazakhstan.

We urge you to end the repression now. This needs to be accompanied by a commitment to allow freedom of association and the recognition of genuinely free and independent trade unions and political parties, including those that challenge the ruling elite in Kazakhstan.

Yours faithfully.

Dr Jackie Applebee

Chair of Doctors in Unite.

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