Sunday, 25 November 2007

Shut up when the anthem plays!

The Slovak Police drew enemy fire from Slovak media after forcibly removing a protester who shouted through a megaphone about undemocratic practices in Kazakhstan within earshot of where the Slovak Presidential Guards saluted Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbajev.

There is a special provision in the Kazakh constitution allowing Nursultan Nazarbajev (him and only him) to stand for reelection an unlimited number of times. Well no surprise he received regal treatment, especially since Kazakhstan has so much oil and is the World's No. 1 exporter of potassium.

Police dragged the Kazakh emigre activist Balli Marzec, a Polish citizen, kicking and screaming and detained her at the police station for 12 hours.

Sadly this was but one in a string of incidents with blatant violations of free speech, freedom of movement and other basic constitutional rights. In some the police were subject of provocation and mistakenly took it as a sign they can suppress human rights.

More often police were the perpetrators of harassment and abuse - beating people up, shutting up demonstrators, harassing the poor and homeless.

This of course permeates the police culture at all levels: corruption is rampant at many levels and certainly the attitude is more often "abuse and exploit" rather than "serve and protect".


Anonymous said...

I need contact for Ms. Balli Marzec. Can somebody help me?