NUR-SULTAN, June 9. /TASS/. Kazakhstan’s police have detained nearly 100 people, who took to the streets of Nur-Sultan and Almaty during the presidential election on Sunday at the request of a banned extremist organization, First Deputy Interior Minister Marat Kozhayev told a briefing at the Central Election Commission.
"Several hundred people gathered in Nur-Sultan and Almaty at the request of the Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan, an extremist organization, which is not registered in Kazakhstan and is banned by the court, Kozhayev said, adding that some 100 of them have been hauled off.
Among them are active participants, who had campaigned for "these antisocial manifestations," he said.
"As you know, on the eve of the election, fugitive leaders of this organization conducted a massive propaganda effort aimed at discrediting the authorities and boycotting early presidential polls, and called for holding antisocial events during the election. Despite their destructive calls, the election is taking place as scheduled, people are going to the polling stations to express their will," the deputy minister said.
However, this massive campaign carried out from abroad has taken its toll, Kozhayev noted. "Apparently, due to this some citizens have responded to these calls. Now we are taking steps to prevent antisocial steps, and ensure public order and security," he said, stressing that the violators of the law would be punished.
On Sunday, Kazakhstan is holding an early presidential election. For the first time ever, Kazakhstan’s first president Nursultan Nazarbayev is not running in the election. Seven candidates have been registered to take part in the race, including Incumbent President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.
In March 2018, Kazakhstan’s court banned the Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan movement, launched by former head of BTA Bank Mukhtar Ablyazov, recognizing it as an extremist organization. Any participation and financing its activities is considered as a criminal act punishable under the law.
In June 2017, Kazakhstan sentenced Ablyazov in absentia to 20 years behind bars and seized his property. He was found guilty of creating and heading a criminal group, embezzling BTA Bank’s funds and money laundering, as well as illegal use of the bank’s money and abuse of power.