Kazakhstani police disperse protests against renaming Astana to Nursultan


ITAR-TASS: ALMATY, RUSSIA. DECEMBER 19, 2011. Police calm down protesters in Republic Square. Kazakhstan residents hold protest rallies against measures taken by police and authorities to suppress mass disorders in oil town of Zhanaozen on Independence Day. At least 10 people have been killed in violent clashes between police and demonstrators on Friday, December 16. (Photo ITAR-TASS/ Anatoly Ustinenko)

In Astana, police have detained over a dozen citizens who tried to express their disagreement with the renaming of the capital of Kazakhstan without a referendum. They gathered in front of the city administration building.

According to azattyq.org, more than a dozen people were detained on the square in front of the city akimat (administration). They were put in minibuses and taken to the police station. A resident of Astana who was heading for the Square to join the protest was also detained.

The day before, the parliament approved the amendment to the Constitution to rename Astana in honor of the first president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev. The initiative to rename the capital into Nursultan was announced at a joint meeting of the Houses of Parliament by the former Speaker of the Senate Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev, who earlier that day took the oath as president of the country. Also across the country the central avenues and city streets are now being renamed in honor of Nazarbayev.

Центральные проспекты городов Казахстана в спешке переименовывают в честь Назарбаева

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