The Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan (DVK) movement, a banned political organization, is calling for nationwide protests on Thursday, May 9, including in the capital Nursultan (formerly Astana). On Wednesday, May 8, the Prosecutor General's Office warned citizens against participating in "illegal actions." Local media sources have reported some disruptions to online media sites as of Thursday and further internet disruptions are possible during the protest. Heightened security measures are expected around all protests and security personnel will likely use force to disperse demonstrators. Clashes between protesters and security forces cannot be ruled out.
Also on Thursday in Nursultan, a march to commemorate veterans of World War II is scheduled to take place beginning at 13:00 (local time). Participants will gather at the Kazakh Eli Monument before marching to the Defenders of the Fatherland Monument. DVK supporters are also expected to participate in the rally. Localize traffic disruptions are anticipated along the route.
The DVK held an unauthorized rally on Wednesday, May 1, to denounce several recent government directives, including the renaming of the capital, and to boycott the June 9 snap presidential elections. At least 80 people were detained in Almaty and Nursultan for participating in the protest.
On March 19, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev announced his resignation from the office of the presidency effective March 20. In a televised address on March 19, Nazarbayev, who will remain chair of the country's Security Council and the ruling Nur-Otan party, indicated the speaker of the upper parliament chamber Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev would be named interim president. Protesters clashed with police during anti-government protests in Nursultan (formerly Astana) on March 21, arresting roughly 20 people.
Kazakhstan's law on public assembly is highly restrictive and effectively denies citizens the right to protest. Nevertheless, mass protests do occasionally take place in the country.
Individuals in Kazakhstan are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests and demonstrations as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.
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