Anti-devaluation protest in Almaty 16 февраля 2014, 02:43
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Devaluation of Kazakhstan's national currency - the tenge - by almost 20% on February 11 has been followed by a mass protest in the center of Almaty this Saturday, Tengrinews reports.
Initially around 50 people gathered in front of the Republic Palace (at the crossing of Abay and Dostyk streets, near Kazakhstan hotel) at 1 p.m. on February 15. They were planning to assemble right next to the Abay Monument, but the square was fenced off.
As time went by more people were gathering. According to some reports the protest peaked at around 200 people. Political activist Serikzhan Mamvetalin and opinion leader Zhasaral Kuznyshalin were among the marchers.
The protest was aimed against the recent devaluation of tenge and called the authorities to attend to the population's social problems.
The police was not intervening into the protest.
After some time the protestors marched to the Almaty Akimat headquarters (the City Hall). They walked up Dostyk street to the Republic Square, but found their way blocked by a police cordon and had to stop.
After standing near the fencing for some time some of the most zealous activists tried to break through the cordon by force. After that the police moved in and made several arrests. Eurasianet.org said they witnessed 6 arrests. According to other sources there may have been as many as 10 people arrested.
An officer from the Prosecutor's Office came of to talk to people. Speaking through a megaphone he asked the marchers to disperse. He explained that the protest was not authorized and thus violated the Kazakhstan legislation. The law required that the authorities are informed about the time and place of protests, rallies and all sorts of public meetings 10 day before the event.
People lingered there for some more time and then started leaving.