25 July, 2014 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
VATICAN
Pope: I am with the persecuted Christians of Mosul and the Middle East "May the God of peace inspire in all a genuine desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is never defeated with violence. Violence is defeated with peace." At the Sunday Angelus Francis comments on the parable of the wheat and the weeds. God is "patient" He knows "the same weeds in the end, may become good wheat". But "at the time of the harvest, that is, of judgment, the reapers will execute the order of the master separating the weeds to be burned".
CHINA - VATICAN
Beijing, seminarians desert graduation ceremony: We will not celebrate Mass with illegitimate bishops The rector of the seminary is the illegitimate bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin: Students refuse to concelebrate with him and reject Msgr. Fang Xingyao, who has participated in several illegal episcopal ordinations. The directors close the year without awarding diplomas and send students home: rumors of some courses being "suspended" in September. The precedent of 2000, when 130 young students chose fidelity to the Pope over compromise with the government.
HONG KONG-CHINA-VATICAN
Card Zen: Religious freedom and civil liberties are united, for China and Hong Kong
by Bernardo CervelleraA wide ranging conversation with the bishop emeritus of Hong Kong: the courage of Msgr. Ma Daqin, who sent a message to Pope Francis; underground Catholics are also prepared to be arrested; suspicions about Beijing’s sincerity towards possible dialogue with the Holy See. And in Hong Kong, the march for a referendum on democracy; support for "Occupy Central"; the fear of the government and arrests. Card. Zen reaffirms that religious freedom and civil liberties go hand in hand.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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.