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Zhanaozen 2011 – Kazakhstan’s December 1970

Police in Zhanaozen suppressed the strike on the 16th of December, 2011. Exactly 41 years prior to that date, on 14th–22th of December, 1970 in communist Poland, a massacre was carried out on the shore of the Baltic Sea, which later became known as the ‘December Events’. Then, the communist militia and army crushed the protests of shipyard workers. 45 people were killed and over 1,000 were injured.

Following the suppression of the strike in Zhanaozen, authorities decided to shift the blame for the tragedy on to the opposition and representatives of independent civil society organisations.

The most common charges which were brought against the detained opposition leaders and social activists, comprised: “inciting social hatred”, “extremism” and “information terrorism”.

Without outside support, Kazakh opposition and the forming civil society have a slim chance of survival.