December 16, 2011 Kazakhstan authorities shot down in the Zhanaozen (a West Kazakhstan city) the rally of striking oil workers. The strike of about 1,500 workers with the requirements of higher wages and better working conditions began in May, but was banned. Oilfield of Karazhanbas, where conflict broke out, is being developed by the company, which belongs to the Chinese concern China International Trust Investment Company and the Kazakh company "KazMunayGaz".*
The scale of repression have been increasing steadily: during the conflict, hundreds of workers were laid off, an union activist, Zhaksalyk Turbayev, was killed by unknown persons, fire to the house of another activist, Aslambek Aydarbayev, was set, and trade union lawyer, Natalia Sokolova, was sentenced to 6 years in prison for "inciting social discord." Leading trade unionists Akzhanat Aminov, Kuanysh Sisenbayev and more as 30 other unionists were also arrested and sentenced.
The regime of President Nazarbayev is largely known for his brutal suppression of workers movement and for his authoritarianism. He declared the theory of "Eurasianism" (actively promoted by the Russian "new right" ethnographer Lev Gumilev) the official ideology.
Now, by the repression of the rally, many workers were killed: 11 people, according to official data, and 70 people, according to unofficial data. The workers informed that hundreds of people injured. The city is now in state of emergency and curfew. The regime put army in the city and cut it off from the rest of the world.
In the nearby towns, there are rallies and actions of solidarity with the workers of Zhanaozen. The authorities again opened fire, and there are new victims.
We call for the immediate protest to stop the massacre of workers in Kazakhstan. Please send letters of protest to the Embassy of Kazakhstan and to the company CITIC, hold pickets and demonstrations. We also offer call for a boycott of goods from Kazakhstan.
International Secretariat of KRAS-IWA