6 Jul 2019 16:55

Several dozen participants in Almaty unsanctioned rally held by police

ALMATY. July 6 (Interfax) - Several dozen people were arrested after presumably coming to an unsanctioned rally in central Almaty on Saturday, an Interfax correspondent reported from the scene.

Earlier on social media, Mukhtar Ablazov, the self-exiled organizer of the extremist movement Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan (DVK), urged people to join the rally.

The rally was to begin outside the Central Stadium at 7 p.m., he said.

Before the protest began the area around the stadium was surrounded by police. It is a busy public place which also houses a sports palace, shops, and a cafe, all of which closed this afternoon. Many reporters are present.

Police are conducting random ID checks among people who walk past or sit on benches. Several have been arrested and put into a police van: some of them offered active resistance, others walked calmly towards the van. The demonstrators do not seem to have any placards.

By this hour, some 50 people have been arrested, eyewitnesses said.

Earlier this week in Almaty and Nur-Sultan, the capital, several DVK supporters were arrested for calling on the population to take part in unsanctioned rallies.

It was reported that the country's two biggest cities have seen a wave of unsanctioned rallies since the presidential election was held on June 9. Initially, demonstrators urged boycotting the election; later they protested against its results. According to the Interior Ministry, the rallies were organized by DVK supporters.