Eight years after the infamous massacre of striking oil workers and their supporters at Zhanaozen in western Kazakhstan, human rights defenders in the oil-rich republic are still seeking answers. How many victims were there, on top of the 16 dead and nearly 100 wounded acknowledged by the authorities? Who gave the order to open fire? What was the role of agents provocateurs? And Kazakhstan’s beleaguered trade union movement continues to count the cost of the killings – which brought to an end an eight-month strike, the longest and largest in the country’s history, and heralded a crackdown on all forms of opposition.
Internationally – while Tony Blair, the former UK prime minister, advised the Kazakh government on how to spin its crime before international audiences – oil workers and others voiced solidarity with the 2011 strike in pickets and protests. In that same spirit of solidarity, People & Nature publishes this interview with GALYM AGELEUOV, a human rights defender who worked with labour movement activists before, during and after the 2011 strike, republished with thanks from Current Time TV. (Original here.)
On 16 December 2011, eight years ago, police opened fire on unarmed citizens of Zhanaozen in western Kazakhstan. The victims included oil workers who were on strike,
and innocent passers-by. The authorities of Mangistau region said the police had begun shooting “in self defence” – until video recordings appeared on the internet, showing how people ran from armed, uniformed men, who were shooting to kill.
According to official data, 16 people died and about a hundred were injured. Zhanaozen residents and human rights defenders said that the number of victims may have been several times greater. But Read the rest of this entry »