Leaders of the banned Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan (DVK) opposition group are calling for nationwide rallies on Saturday, October 26, to denounce perceived Chinese influence in the country. Protests are scheduled to be held in multiple cities starting at 14:00 (local time). In Almaty, supporters are being asked to gather at the Old Square. Participants in Nur-Sultan will rally outside of Congress Hall. A full list of the cities and locations the DVK are planning protests can be found here.
A heightened security presence and local traffic disruptions are anticipated around all demonstration sites. Clashes between security personnel and protesters cannot be ruled out.
Dozens of people were arrested during similar demonstrations in Nur-Sultan and Almaty on September 21. China is a major investor in Kazakhstan's energy sector and Kazakhstan's biggest trade partner. However, anti-Chinese sentiment has been rising over the last decade due to fear of corruption, Chinese influence, excessive reliance on Chinese investment, and accusation of Chinese companies of hiring few local staff.
In addition, China's "de-radicalization" campaign targeting Muslim minorities (including ethnic Kazakhs) in China's neighboring Xinjiang province has precipitated increased Kazakh antipathy toward China.
Individuals in Kazakhstan, particularly Nur-Sultan and Almaty, 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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