Anti-Government Protesters Carried Away in Kazakhstan


"This shows that our level of political culture has seriously increased", the newly-elected president was quoted as saying by Kazakhstan's state media.

Kazakh President and presidential candidate Kassym-Jomart Tokayev walks out of a voting booth at a polling station during Kazakhstan's presidential elections in Nur-Sultan on 9 June 2019. Among the dozens more detained on Monday was Assem Zhapisheva, a civic activist and journalist. Some 500 people were taken into custody after police broke rallies in Kazakhstan's two largest cities.

Yet today in Almaty, the capital, police briefly detained Marius Fossum, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee's regional representative, who was monitoring protests. He told the BBC his government would be tolerant towards those with different views.

Demonstrators chanted "boycott" and "police with the people" before their protests were broken up by authorities.

Human Rights Watch called the prospect of a genuine political transition "an illusion" and noted the persistence of rights abuses under Mr Tokayev's presidency.

No Kazakh vote has ever been recognised as fully democratic by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which sent more than 300 observers to monitor this election. An AFP correspondent saw scores more arrested on Monday, several of whom did not appear to be attempting to protest. A candidate must win more than 50 per cent of the vote to win the election.

Speculating on the outcome of the tightly-controlled vote, Mr Tokayev's campaign chief told journalists Friday that he predicted victory but without the overwhelming backing enjoyed by Mr Nazarbayev.

Earlier it was reported that the snap presidential election began across Kazakhstan at 07:00 am and ended at 20:00 pm local time.

Nevertheless, Mr Nazarbayev is expected to retain much of his influence as head of the governing party.

He has been largely unchallenged as leader of the oil-rich nation since 1989. He was the speaker of the Senate before having been appointed interim president following Nazarbayev's resignation. The change went ahead without public consultation.

"I know. how they compile these reports and how politically prejudiced they can be depending on which country they work in", Tokayev said at his first post-election briefing.

Protesters have been sentenced to short stays in jail and police have been raiding activists' homes, according to AFP.