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Kazakh Police Detain 12 Picketing EU For Activists' Release

Activists in front of the EU office in Nur-Sultan on June 10.
Activists in front of the EU office in Nur-Sultan on June 10.

NUR-SULTAN -- Police in the Kazakh capital, Nur-Sultan, have detained 12 activists who were picketing the European Union's office in the city.

The activists on June 10 were calling on EU officials to pressure Kazakh authorities to release three activists, Ruslan Nurqanov, Aibek Sabitov, and Darkhan Omirbaev, who were sentenced to jail terms of between 10 and 15 days last week on the eve of unsanctioned protests in Nur-Sultan. They were found guilty of calling for "illegal rallies."

During the demonstration, the protesters held portraits of the three jailed activists, as well as posters saying "European Union, Be With The Kazakh People!" and "#BlackLivesMatter #Kazakhstan."

One of the posters had a picture of a donkey with the face of the Kazakh President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev.

"We want police reforms! We want a new law on public protests! We are against the police state!" the protesters chanted before dozens of police forced them into vehicles and took them away.

Police in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan’s second-largest city, Almaty, and at least three other cities detained more than 100 people on June 6 during anti-government protests. Some of them were later sentenced to several days in jail for taking part in the unsanctioned protests.

In Almaty, on June 10, a noted civil rights activist, Asya Tulesova, was sentenced to 10 days in jail for taking part in the June 6 protest.

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