10 reported dead and many more injured when an occupation of striking oil workers was "cleared" earlier today.
10 reported dead and many more injured when an occupation of striking oil workers was "cleared" earlier today.
CWI members have been giving updates throughout the day from Kazakhstan. The government have attempted to block social media in an attempt to stop the real situation getting out internationally.
Things were very bad in Cairo last night too. Syria, and China too.
As the economic crisis is worsening, state forces are getting more and more brutal. In Syria, it's turning into civil war, as soldiers are gradually defecting rather than shoot unarmed civilians.
BBC has a short video -
Last edited by C. Flower; 17-12-2011 at 11:21 AM.
On Friday Kazakh police and special forces troops opened fire on a peaceful demonstration of striking oil workers in Zhanaozen in western Kazkahstan killing 70 and wounding over 500.
President Nazarbayev has imposed a State of Emergency in the city of Zhanaozen until 5th January. The city is completely blockaded.
...Mass arrests of participants in yesterday’s protests are taking place. Many leaders and well known activists are in hiding, young workers are continuing to resist. The police forces are lodging criminal charges en-masse, people are being stopped on the streets and taken to "filtration centres". According to the workers, unarmed striking oil workers, up to 1500 have gathered today in the city centre. This evening the strikers have been once again forced out to the edges of the city. The town is full of internal troops, armored cars and police.
...Despite this, apart from the oil workers, relatives and supporters are also out on the streets protesting against the shootings and looking for those who are missing. The authorities are refusing to hand over the bodies of the dead, and the hospitals in Zhanaozen and Aktau are overflowing with those wounded in the shootings.
...In the outskirts and in the outlying villages as dark settles you can hear the sound of gun fights and grenade explosions. The young workers are not prepared to give up their resistance. Witnesses are trying to film these "Special operations" on their mobile cameras. In the city, as before, the lights are off, mobile communications are constantly interrupted, the internet is blocked.
...Fighting has been raging in Shepte for hours, even though they have sent another five buses of special troops! The locals have completely torn up the railway tracks, stopped two passenger trains, completely blocking rail communications and have set fire to the wagons. There are no more links with the village, nor with Zhetybai, where there was also a battle earlier today. Representatives of the independent trade union from Aktau are trying to get there to find out the situation.
...According to sympathisers from within the army/police force, in addition to the 7 aircraft full of riot troops already in Aktau, another 3 are on their way. It has just been announced that Belarus is sending some of its special troops. The riot police have been given freedom of action, that is to shoot at whoever they think necessary, including pregnant women and children. They also report that in a couple of weeks, they will start executing some of the more dangerous activists for the Almaty regime - under the guise of shooting terrorists.
...According to reports from worker activists, 4,000 workers from the neighbouring Kalamkas oil field have downed tools and have started a march to their company headquarters demanding the withdrawal of troops from the region.
...Reports are also coming in of planned protests in other cities. 150 oilworkers in the city of Aktau, also a centre of the strike were rounded up by police using dogs and detained “for preventative discussions”, although later freed.
...In Kazakhstan’s capital, Almaty, in an attempt to prevent this morning’s protest in support of the oil workers, police tried to detain four activists from the Socialist Movement Kazakhstan – Larissa Boyar, Dmitrii Tikhonov, Arman Ozhaubayev and Zhanna Baitelova.
The video on this page shows the police opening fire on the protestors at 3mins 40 secs.
Last edited by Jolly Red Giant; 17-12-2011 at 11:35 PM.
I've merged the posts on this from another thread.
Is there any call for support from the oil workers ?
Report from The Moscow News
Please post details of anything coming up, if you have them.
What is the SP and its sister organisation in Kazakhstan saying about these events, that seem close to civil war or revolution ?
Kazakh police have shot dead dozens of striking oil workers and their supporters in the town of Zhanaozen, near the Caspian Sea. The area is now in a state of virtual siege from security forces, according to local eyewitnesses and independent TV reports.
The death toll has been put by the Kazakh government at 11, but some independent trade unions and opposition activists claim the real figure is 70 or higher. The number of wounded has been estimated as high as several hundred.
Workers across the Kazakh oil industry responded by calling wildcat strikes, and protests have spread to the regional capital, Aktau.
The mass shootings – which are reminiscent of the Andijan massacre in Uzbekistan in 2005 – could threaten the stability of President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s authoritarian regime. Nazarbayev has ruled Kazakhstan since before the Soviet collapse with an increasingly iron grip, while Western, Russian and Chinese energy companies have sought to get their hands on Kazakhstan’s vast oil and gas resources, the 11th-biggest in the world.
The shootings took place on Friday December 16 – the 20th anniversary of Kazakhstan’s independence from the Soviet Union. Strikers were marking seven months of a bitter dispute over poor labor conditions and low wages with the Kazakh state oil and gas company, Kazmunaygas, with a peaceful rally in Zhanaozen’s main square.
Trouble started after authorities erected a stage for an anniversary party on the square – and a group of burly men in Kazmunaygas uniforms rushed the stage. Police started shooting after protesters reacted to a police bus ramming into the crowd.
“There’s real carnage going on here, police are shooting assault rifles,” eyewitness Omirbek Isabayev told the independent TV channel K+ by phone. “People are gathering in the city center. It looks like the whole of Zhanaozen has taken to the streets.”
Little independently verifiable information has been available from the town, as mobile phone and Internet connections were cut off soon after violence broke out. On Friday, authorities deployed the Marine Corps and military vehicles to the region.
The main highways into the town were blocked by authorities, K+ television reported.
The exact death toll remains unclear, as authorities have not yet released the bodies of the shooting victims, opposition activists say.
According to protesters, the conflict was sparked after a police truck drove into the crowd, injuring several people. Protesters then overturned the vehicle and set it on fire. At the same time, a group of men in Kazmunaygas uniforms began to attack a New Year’s tree and a stage mounted for Independence Day celebrations.
The Kazakh government has claimed that the violence was instigated by fired oil workers, who, according to the country’s Interior Ministry, “hampered celebrations, crashing a stage mounted on the square – and then took to looting.”
A crowd set fire to the buildings of the town hall and a hotel, and the administrative building of a local subsidiary of Kazmunaygas.
Strikers’ representatives questioned who was behind these acts, and accused the authorities of using agents provocateurs to blame workers for the disturbances.
On Saturday, President Nursultan Nazarbayev imposed a state of emergency and a nighttime curfew in Zhanaozen until January 5. He also ordered an official investigation, to be headed by Deputy Prime Minister Umirzak Shukeyev, RIA Novosti reported.
Fighting between police and protesters in and around Aktau was continuing Saturday evening, an activist with a local independent trade union told The Moscow News by telephone.
The Aktau airport was closed but was reopened later Saturday, while protesters dismantled railway tracks in the region and set a train on fire, said the activist, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal.
Tensions rose after 1,000 protesters in Aktau were surrounded by 3,000 riot police, the activist said. No clashes broke out there, however, he said.
Protesters were demanding talks with the mayor of Aktau and an independent inquiry into the shootings, the activist said.
As of Saturday, oil production in Zhanaozen and the rest of the Mangistau province was suspended due to a spreading strike by oil workers.
One of Kazakhstan’s exiled opposition leaders, Ainur Kurmanov, who is also deputy head of the independent trade union Zhanartu, or Renaissance, said that workers had planned to hold a peaceful protest rally on Independence Day to call for better labor conditions, higher wages and releasing trade union leaders and labor activists from jail, which they have been demanding for months.
“Local workers die of professional diseases, associated gas intoxication, and because of using obsolete equipment,” said Kurmanov, who is co-leader of the Socialist Movement of Kazakhstan. “Workloads were increased twofold as several departments stopped operating earlier this year, and workers just wanted to have them reduced.”
The confrontation between workers and management at Kazmunaygas has been escalating since early July, when riot police dispersed a protest of several hundred workers, who went on hunger strike at a workers’ tent camp on corporate premises. Every day after that up to 3,000 workers protested on the main square in Zhanaozen, a town with a population of 90,000.
A lawyer for the strikers’ trade union, Natalya Sokolova, was arrested in May and later jailed for six years for “fomenting social unrest.” The leader of the strikers, Akzhanat Aminov, was arrested in July and given a two-year suspended sentence.
Kurmanov, the socialist and trade union leader, said that town and company officials had refused to meet with the protesters throughout the seven-month strike. The employer refused to meet workers’ demands, even suffering a 40 percent fall in production.
They recently delivered a very impressive banking haircut.
Worked there (and spent a little time in clink) in 1998 in Almaty. What struck me really strongly was the gap between rich and poor. Said before, never saw as many 911s in a square mile and beyond that, families in tents.
From my own experience, I wouldn't like to be getting on the wrong side of the security forces. The mafia there were the only officials I came across with an ounce of decency. Notwithstanding the obvious.
Lovely people there, really good people.
This report is quite good, if a little garbled:One of the local oil workers in Zhetibai, who gave his name only as Esbol, told RFE/RL by phone that hundreds of oil workers and local citizens gathered on the town's central square to demand investigations into the shootings in Zhanaozen.
"This isn't working,
My middle-brow f**ker"
Latest update from members of the Russian and Kazakhstan sections of the CWI
Protests are continuing in western Kazakhstan in defiance of martial law.
An end to the massacre and withdrawal of all troops and riot police from the Mangystau region;
An immediate inquiry under the full control of the workers and local residents to identify those responsible for giving the order to fire on the peaceful protesters;
The implementation of all the demands of the striking workers;
Freedom for all political prisoners, including Natalia Sokolova;
That there should be no splits or provocations to divide the movement on national or ethnic lines, for the unity of workers of all nationalities in common struggle;
The immediate resignation of the president and government;
A boycott of the parliamentary elections, with full rights to form social, political and trade union organisations;
That all the natural resources, major companies and banks of Kazakhstan are brought into state ownership under the control and management of democratic workers’ committees;
The formation of a mass workers‘ party;
A constituent assembly representing all workers and the poor in society to establish new, democratic organs of power.
A workers’ government with a socialist programme.
Local committees sound like a very good idea.
Why the boycott of elections ? Are there elections due?