2 March, 2015 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 07/02/2011
KAZAKHSTAN
Kazakh workers’ protests widen
Beatings and arrests fail to stop protesters, who continue the strikes. Protests erupt in other parts of the country and opposition politicians support protesters. Now government reaction expected.

Astana (AsiaNews / Agencies) – Kazakhstan’s workers, who began a series of strikes to demand better wages and the right to form independent trade unions in May, show no signs of giving in. The government has so far "ignored" the protests, but they are becoming more important and are drawing international attention. Human rights groups argue that concessions will be difficult to obtain, since they involve leading companies involved in gas and oil, the country's main source of wealth and essential to international partners.

The protest now involves thousands of workers in the energy sector, some have self-inflicted wounds, others have begun a hunger strike, and set up roadblocks.

It is the first widespread protests for over 10 years, since the country began to enjoy greater economic well-being. But Astana is now struggling with high inflation and workers have seen the wealth of the country (gas, oil, uranium and other minerals as well) benefit the elite around the President Nursultan Nazarbayev, in power since 1991, and foreign investors.

The protests began on 11 May with a strike of several hundred workers in the Karazhanbas oilfield near Aktau, among them OzenMunaiGaz transporters. Over 100 workers went out on strike (they soon became 350) of Ersai Caspian Contractors, a joint venture between Italy and Kazakhstan which also operates in the oil sector. The protest soon began to involve workers in the state KazMunaiGas, energy leaders, impeding production. On May 26, about 600 of 9 thousand workers of Ozenmunaigas went on strike, the company has laid off about 200 by saying that the strike was "illegal" and "the demonstrators demands are unfounded."

The police intervened to disperse demonstrators and arrested 37on June 5.

The government for months has "ignored" the protests. "Unknown assailants" beat the workers on strike, there were also beatings of women workers and demonstrators’ wives. The lawyer Natalia Sokolova (pictured), leader of the protests, was first arrested and sentenced to a short jail term for "organizing an unauthorised mass meeting." But then she was kept in prison with far more serious charge of "inciting social tensions," which is punishable by 7 years in prison, for having invited the workers to continue strike action.

Now the workers’ main demand is Sokolova’s release.

The protests have continued, widened and are taking on increasing significance, even as an example. In the northern city of Kokshetau hundreds of citizens demonstrated against a local company they accuse of stealing money through a "pyramid scheme". The police arrived, and unusual violent clashes resulted in country where there is little protection of human rights.

Opposition parties have begun to support the strikers in public, in view of the elections of 2012. In the last vote the party Nur Otan-Nazarbayev won a landslide victory.

Experts say that Nazarbayev is supported, among others, by powerful neighbours Russia and China, highly interested in the energy sourced. The strike affects KazMunaiGas which manages the Kazakh energy production. The protesters accuse it of paying millions of dollars each year in dividends to investors, while the workers are on starvation wages.

e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
12/19/2011 KAZAKHSTAN
Tense calm and strikes in Kazakhstan, after 3 days of clashes and deaths
10/10/2011 KAZAKHSTAN
Kazakh Communist Party suspended for supporting strike
06/06/2011 KAZAKHSTAN
Oil worker strike could lead to intense confrontation with authorities
05/28/2010 CHINA
Work-related suicides due to indifference, Hong Kong trade union leader says
03/18/2009 CHINA
Dozens of policemen injured in clashes with 1,000 workers in Shaanxi

Editor's choices
EGYPT - ISLAM
What Tayeb and Sisi said is big step towards a revolution in Islam
by Samir Khalil SamirThe grand imam of Al-Azhar slammed literalist interpretations of the Qur'an and the Sunnah, as fundamentalists and Islamic terrorists do. He supports the urgent need for Islam's reform, especially in terms of teaching lay people and clerics. He also calls for an end to mutual excommunication (takfir) between Sunnis and Shias. Egyptian President al-Sisi chose to fight the Islamic state group after it beheaded 21 Coptic Christians, whom he called "Egyptian citizens" with full rights.
SAUDI ARABIA - ISLAM
For head of Al-Azhar, religious education reform is needed to stop Islamic extremismFor Ahmed al-Tayeb, it is urgent to come up with new educational programmes to avoid "corrupt interpretations" of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Islamic terrorism undermines the unity of the Muslim world. He blames Mideast tensions on a "new global colonialism allied to world Zionism". a speech by the Saudi king is read at the conference.
HONG KONG - CHINA - VATICAN
It looks like someone is trying to shout us down
by Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiunThe widespread optimism concerning the dialogue between the Holy See and China is largely groundless. Some Chinese bishops unable to speak freely are asked "leading" questions. The key issues remain unresolved, namely episcopal appointments and the fate of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. Benedict XVI's Letter to Chinese Catholics, also cited by Pope Francis, provides guidelines. No agreement is better than a bad agreement. What happened to Msgr. Cosma Shi Enxiang and Msgr. James Su Zhimin? Hong Kong's bishop emeritus, champion of religious freedom in China, delivers a vibrant reflection.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.