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Saturday 21 September 2019

Dozens Detained in Kazakhstan at anti-China Protests


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ALMATY, NUR-SULTAN / Ex ASTANA (Reuters) — Police detained dozens in Kazakhstan’s two largest cities on Saturday as they took part in the latest protest against China’s influence in the Central Asian republic.

China is already one of Kazakhstan’s largest investors and trade partners and a plan to relocate number of Chinese plants and factories their has faced public opposition. The latest round of protests on Saturday was organized by supporters of Mukhtar Ablyazov, a fugitive banker living in France who has been the fiercest critic of Kazakhstan’s first president, Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Kazakh authorities consider Ablyazov’s political movement extremist and involvement in its activities a crime. Authorities have detained 57 people and may be charged, the interior ministry said.

Reuters reporters witnessed several arrests in Nur-Sultan and Almaty. In Kazakhstan’s capital Nur-Sultan (ex Astana), police detained a man with a banner reading: “Let’s not give way to Chinese expansion” and “The old man is the enemy”, an anti-Nazarbayev slogan. Several people chanted: “Freedom to political prisoners”. Some protesters tried to escape as police moved in and smashed the windows of a police bus.

In Almaty, protesters were quickly taken away to police buses as they began chanting slogans against Chinese expansion and “Old man, go away!”

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