On 1 May, the Day of Unity in Kazakhstan, hundreds of people went to the streets for ani-governmental protests in several Kazakhstan's cities, primarily in Nur-Sultan and Almaty, and called to boycott the upcoming presidential election and release political prisoners. Kazakhstan’s Interior Ministry said that a total of 80 protesters were detained during the 1 May protests. According to the Ministry, protesters were allowed to openly voice their position and opinions on social and other issues, but some of them were aggressive and allegedly shouted slogans of the banned Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan (DCK). Some report that during the protests people were beaten by the police with the rubbers sticks. In addition, several protestors were reportedly fined or sentenced for 5 days in jail. Earlier, fugitive banker and leader of DCK movement Mukhtar Ablyazov called for public demonstrations on 1 May (rferl.org, azattyq.org, eurasianet.org).
Expert and blogger monitoring
Dosym Satpayev (political analyst): "The yesterdays (1 May) protests in several Kazakh cities once again showed that authorities' power demonstration is a sign of their weakness. When there are no words and confidence in your truth there is a place for violence. It is time to learn how to communicate with people. And city and region governors, not policemen shall talk to the people. By the way, ahead of the USSR break-up, Czechoslovakian "Civil forum" made an appeal, which is relevant to both Kazakhstan and other post-Soviet countries. This appeal was a question "What do we want?": "Our country is in a deep moral, spiritual, environmental, social, economic and political crisis. This crisis reflects ineffectiveness of the current political and economic system… The republic should be a sovereign democratic state. In this spirit, a new constitution should be elaborated, while the whole legislative system shall be gradually harmonized with the constitution and guarantee that the law is applied not only for citizens, but also on the state authorities". This appeal was typical for all Eastern European countries, which further established the democratic systems".
Talgat Kailyev: "It is mistake to analyse the 1 May protests from the viewpoint of decades experience or to seek the "Ablyzov's trace". There is also no link between the people's demonstrations and Almaty banner protest actions. These events are different in nature. […]Why not Ablyzov? He is alien to most of the protestors, since he lives in a different reality, operates with the different conceptual systems. There are a few who noticed that since the beginning of the land protests, the major core of the protesters is exclusively Kazakh speaking people, who operates with much deeper things than the power struggle and political bargaining. We can access this protest as a one story that gradually evolved from the land protests. The major mistake is to seek the causes in social issues, in a reality the roots are in the deep social divides and a gap between the rich and the poor. But even major mistake is the attempt to manage this process in Russian-speaking field and to elaborate ideologies that are unclear and not close to Kazakh-speaking population, who considers this as an ignorance of their interests […] ".